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Monday, November 03, 2008
"I Forgive You...
...but you can no longer be part of my life."

What has made you (or would make you) set this sort of boundary in your life?

I have never actually said it to someone who has lost access to any information about my life, but I have had to make this call a few times in my life. Once it was due to serious safety issues. It's never a decision I've made lightly. In at least one case I wonder if I made the right decision, even though at the time I had good reasons for choosing to dis-engage from a particular individual.

In the church I was raised in, we were taught to forgive seventy times seven. But they never really taught us how to forgive someone without allowing them to continue to have the opportunity to do those things that require so much forgiveness in the first place. I'm thinking of people who do heavy emotional or spiritual or physical damage repeatedly without showing any inclination that they're trying to change, not the everyday sort of forgiveness that one gives a healthy friendship or relationship.

(No, this post isn't inspired by anything that's happened in my life recently. :) )

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posted by Lydia at 7:48 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 11/04/2008 08:29:00 AM, Blogger LisaColónDeLay

    Forgiveness cancels a debt. Continuing a relationship is a different matter. I think when we can wish someone well, then we've gotten over the hurt, and sometimes that takes only what God can give us. Forgiveness doesn't justify a wrong, but it lets the forgiver stop bearing the burden of the wrong done to them. It bring healing and reconciliation, potentially to both. This, I believe, is why it is central to the nature of God's character and the life of those who love him. Grace trumps karma. In other words, there are cause and effects (karma), but without grace (forgiveness) you have a dying world emptying of love.

    I think we must put up boundaries for people when they are unhealthy for us, but never cease to forgive, not really for them, but also for them, but for our selves. God knows what is best for us. This is why this urge to forgive is his plea. It is out of love for us, so we may live well, and have peace and rest.

    Lydia, you have a thoughtful mind. Keep searching.

  • At 11/04/2008 05:37:00 PM, Blogger Don't I Know You?

    What's made me set that boundary:

    When I have done this, it's been an intellectual decision to take a stance that will allow me to continue on my own path without the distractions posed by the problem person.

    This is a very different issue than forgiveness, although the issues of boundary-setting and forgiveness often fall into one circumstance.

    There is great power in setting those boundaries. Believe me, sometimes you gotta be very clear on not confusing the boundary with forgiveness. Because situations can change so drastically and so suddenly that you gotta let the boundary change, and if you haven't forgiven, you can't adjust that quickly, and if you don't adjust that quickly, you may miss out on the only chance you'll have in this lifetime to allow peace, not only for yourself, but for the other person, too.

  • At 11/08/2008 06:25:00 PM, Blogger Euodia

    Check out this post:


  • At 11/14/2008 03:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Forgiveness for me is the realization that we're both broken vessels and to let go of whatever pain that person is causing me so it doesn't impact me anymore. Easier said that done but over time, i find it does happen.

    When I have to walk away is when I realize I am spending more time on that person and their issues than my own work - this is unlike helping a friend in a crisis in that the problem gets cyclical. My interactions with them bring me down instead of lifting me up. (I have seen a few times in my own life where I got so negative that I was driving people away - I have enough self-awareness now to catch myself fortunately.)

    Sometimes that person can be let back into my life - a close friend finally stopped drinking before she killed herself. So, we can now be friends again but during the last stages of her alcoholism I had to set some serious boundaries.

    Other times, I've been ready to accept that person back into my life but they are still holding on to the resentments - I have one person I've tried to arrange a meeting with for a few years but he keeps deleting my emails. Nothing one can do but walk away in prayer. (The fact this person runs a forgiveness program is ironic to say the least.)

  • At 11/21/2008 04:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I have some major issues with my parents, including emotional and spiritual abuse, and I did cut off all contact for what turned out to be about 2 1/2 yrs. I needed for us to address some of the control issues that were permeating into my own family life as a mother and wife. In my family of origin, there were very poor boundaries, if any at all. This leaked into my adult life where the expectation was that I would continue to work my life around them needing me. There was a pivotal moment where I simply said "no more". We are going to address these issues and we will not be able to have a relationship until we do. This was a very painful decision. Those 2 1/2 years were full of spiritual growth and freedom for me. It's not a decision for everyone to make but this was necessary and needed for me to be a normal functioning, whole person that I needed to be not just for myself but also for my husband and children.

  • At 12/19/2008 07:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I wonder if there's ever a time when some of us need to say this to the church?

  • At 12/31/2008 02:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous


    wit4life makes a good point. There is a big difference, in my mind and life experience, between forgiving someone for the thing(s) he/she has done and continuing to interact with that person in a relationship that has been demonstrated to be unhealthy. I have had to walk away from people and relationships with them when I have reached the realization that to remain in that relationship would be detrimental to my own health and well-being.

    Yes, Carol, the same principle applies to an organization. I have had to walk away from entities (churches) when I realized that the manner in which that organization functioned was inimical to my own spiritual progress.

    Don't I Know You correctly identifies the power of setting boundaries and make conscious decisions about who and what you will allow to occupy space and time in your life.

    I wrote about my experience here:


    Blessings to you,