Spiritual vitality can be pretty dangerous. It makes life so open and unpredictable! For instance, you should keep these cautions in mind when you choose to forgive someone who wronged you.
1. Even if you are gracious and forgiving, the person you forgive can still choose to be mean, resentful, defensive, and gossipy. Sometimes an act of grace and forgiveness opens the way for mutual grace, but this is not guaranteed. This is why you have to consider forgiveness your business and yours only. You have no control over the other person’s response.
2. By choosing to forgive, you relinquish some enjoyable emotions. You are giving up the satisfaction of badmouthing this person to all your friends and family. You might miss the gratifying simmer that occurs when you fantasize revenge. In other words, you will have to reprogram your emotional habits, and that can be stressful and annoying.
3. Although forgiving does not necessarily mean that you are reconciled to that person (this is the topic for next week), your forgiveness might open the door for this person to remain in your life in some capacity. It’s much easier to just write off a person who has hurt you. Get rid of that irritant and reminder—keep that particular presence out of your life completely. Forgiveness can complicate this issue. You might choose, for good reason, to discontinue certain activities. You might discern that you cannot maintain a close friendship, even though you have forgiven a wrong. But in some situations, it would be too obvious and awkward to eliminate all interactions.
4. Without a wrong to obsess over, you’ll need to find something else to do with your thoughts and emotions. Plotting revenge absorbs hours and hours. Indulging in hurt and anger uses a lot of energy. What will you do with all that freed-up time and mind-power? You may need to get creative.
You might come up with other disadvantages of forgiving. Feel free to add to the conversation . . .