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Forgiveness is an NT construct

Forgiveness is like the horizon.  Everyone says it exists but you can never get there.  Forgiveness is like lotto winnings.  I remember being at a gas station and there was a LED ticker denoting winnings in towns around us.  And we hear about the big wins in the news.  What this sets up is we think lotto winnings happen more than they actually do.  The same goes for forgiveness.  We are taught from the cradle that it exists and, especially with Christian upbringing, read and hear about it all the time.  So it makes it seem like it happens a lot more than it actually does.  Which is bad because we think we can wrong and be forgiven when this is usually a lie.

As for me people have done things to me that have ruined my life and I don’t have the capacity to forgive, I can treat them cordially but I can’t change my emotions around what happened.  Of course therapists would want to guilt me for not being able to let go, because guilt is like the jackhammer you pull out when none of your other manipulative tools have worked.  You wrong me, the wrong stays in my muscle memory for future dealings with you.  You can label me bitter and angry (which implies I am culpable for my emotions which I have little to no control over).

For the NT world I would offer the advice, “don’t fetishize and romanticize forgiveness and pretend it happens more than it actually does”.  I have found (particularly looking at my brother’s divorce) that the words you say are either water off their back or mercury in the blood (remaining in them indefinitely).  Everyone opines about forgiveness but, especially for people struggling with depression, damage of words and actions is often permanent (because people struggling with depression often don’t have control what pops and remains in their mind so your wrong’s effect is amplified).

Also stop demonizing people like me who say forgiveness is a farce.  Because more often than not, it is.