By Marisa Donnelly on Thought Catalog

Bianca des Jardins

“I truly believe that forgiveness is healing. That forgiveness is redemption. That forgiveness lifts and settles your spirit, whether you’re the one giving or receiving. I think there’s something wonderful about letting go of pain in this way— knowing that someone has given you a second chance, or deciding after you’ve been broken to can accept someone’s apology and set both of your hearts free.

Forgiveness is powerful.”

“But sometimes in love and relationships, we forgive the wrong people. Sometimes we’re tied closely to people who hurt us, and we think that we must forgive them to move forward, to save a relationship, to fix what has been torn apart, to give ourselves closure.

From my experience, forgiveness has changed my life. Accepting apologies from people who have destroyed me, forgiving people even when they haven’t asked for it, letting go—this has healed my heart in ways I could have never imagined. But this wasn’t easy. And not all stories are the same. Sometimes forgiving people is hard. Sometimes it hurts too much.

But I still think there’s power in forgiving because it helps to free yourself from what’s been trapping you and holding you down. It’s a reminder of God’s love and faithfulness when you treat others with kindness, even when they don’t deserve it. And it helps you just as much, if not more, when you free your heart from that bitterness and pain.

But forgiving someone doesn’t mean you allow them a free passage back into your heart. It doesn’t mean that you open the doors to your life and give them the key.

It does mean that you try to give them a clean slate and truly let go and let God handle the pain you feel.

But forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to keep that person in your life.

You can forgive someone for cheating. You can forgive someone for breaking your heart. You can forgive someone for abandoning you in a time of need, for walking away, for not putting you first, for letting you go.

But that doesn’t mean you trust that person again.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re obligated to stay in a relationship or marriage with someone who has destroyed the foundation of everything you’ve built. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you keep a close friendship with the person who betrayed you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you continue to engage with family members who have proven their disloyalty, time and time again.

Forgiveness means you accept what wrongs have been done to you, you let go of those wrongs, you calm your heart with God’s love and patience, and you begin again—with or without that person, it’s up to you.

You are not any less of a person for knowing when you need distance from people who have broken you. You are not spiteful, hateful, bad, or evil for taking time to heal and removing yourself from a toxic relationship.

You are not wrong for forgiving and leaving that person in your past.

See, forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. But it shouldn’t be loosely given, or received simply because the wrong-doer requests it. Forgiveness should come when the person who’s been hurt has decided to heal. And the forgiver can decide to forgive, but then walk away rather than engage again.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Do not feel pressure to stay in a relationship with someone who has broken you. Do not feel that you have to continue with a person who has destroyed the very core of your being. There is a point when you are only hurting yourself to be with someone—and that’s when you need to realize your worth.

Forgiving is living like Christ, is giving someone another chance, is showing His love and mercy, even when it’s undeserved. But that’s all you need to do. You don’t need to stay with someone who has destroyed you—God wouldn’t want that kind of life for you.

So please do not think forgiveness means you must stay. Please don’t think your life is rooted to a relationship that has been soiled by someone else’s wrong choice.

Please remember your worth, and know that you deserve a love that doesn’t leave. Know that forgiving someone does not make you weak, but gives you strength. Strength enough to let go, to move on, and to put that person in your past. TC mark

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