Forgiveness Is Not Acceptance: How to Forgive Without Becoming a Doormat

Story by: Jordyn Taylor | Feb. 21, 2019

My last story left some readers asking how to forgive without falling back into the same love trap. 

But, forgiveness is not acceptance.

You can forgive someone while still showing them the door!

Having grace does not give the person who hurt you a “get out of jail free” card. In fact, forgiveness is not about the other person at all.

Having mercy is more about personal growth.

The only way I could grow through my situation was by surrendering all of my pain to God.

Forgiving was a process.

I didn’t know what my spiritual leaders meant when they said: leave it in God’s hands.

I didn’t want to see my ex, speak to him, or even pray for him.

The hurt was too deep. 

How could I just forgive my estranged husband for abandoning me and our kids?

Little things like Facebook memory notifications, would break my heart all over again. 

We were married. I thought we had a lifetime of missions to complete—together.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” is what he’d always say.

But, raising our kids alone is a frequent reminder that my partner-in-crime forever is gone.

It’s tough being a single mom.

It gets lonely not having a teammate to pass the baton to.

Life is a marathon, not a race. And, anger was too heavy for me to carry along with two babies.

So, I followed God’s word.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Ephesians 4:32

Having mercy doesn’t mean all of Mr. Dean’s dirty deeds are dismissed.

It just means I decided to make peace with him.

Forgiveness for me was letting go.

It had little to do with feelings for my ex, or trust.

I’m still hurt.

But, I had to forgive because punching him in the face was unacceptable.

Forgiveness freed us both.

Often women like to remind men of how much they’ve hurt us when they don’t measure up to who we wanted them to be.

And if we’re betrayed, we want to be vindicated—immediately.

“Oh, I’m going to teach him a lesson,” is what hurt women holler.

But, who’s schooling you?

It can’t be God, not with that attitude.

Besides, we can’t fix people. We struggle to fix ourselves.

I’ve made the mistake of playing Captain Save ‘Em, when I am the one who needs saving.

So, I’ve given my disappointments to the Lord and I’m asking Him to cleanse my heart, daily.

When I talk to my ex, I make an effort to use soft words. The bible says it turns away wrath.

And if things go left, my attention leaves. Our conversation is over. 

If you’re having a hard time letting go, here are four things to try:

  • 1. Don’t worry about anything
  • 2. Pray about everything
  • 3. Tell God what you need 
  • 4. Thank Him for all He has done
Philippians 4:6-7

When I follow these actions, the peace of God shows up.

And if you’re afraid that forgiving will leave you open to being hurt again, it’s a sign that you have more work to do on yourself!

Like me, you need to sit with your thoughts and feelings. Write them down and ask yourself: what did I learn from this experience?

“Who am I, and what do I want?” Are the things I tried to define in my journal.

My reluctance to forgive meant I needed to become more familiar with myself. I needed more time to understand my thoughts, feelings, and needs.

One day I was watching “Iyanla: Fix My Life” and I remember Ms. Vanzant saying: when you know who you are, you don’t put yourself in harm’s way.

Those words sat with me.

I needed to hold myself more accountable.

I believe self-love and respect means setting boundaries for yourself and others. It teaches people how to treat you.

I’m still working through my feelings and learning how to honor myself more. And, how to have MY needs met.

Despite what anyone has done to you, you can choose to stay offended or choose to get the lesson.

My betrayal is teaching me to take better care of myself, now and in the future.

I’ve embraced this process. I’m forgiving and I’m moving on.

You may be hurt, but that doesn’t mean you have to be held back.

Glory to God!