YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE EXCEPTIONALLY NICE
Maybe like me you grew up in a religious culture that valued superficial syrupy relationships rather than real authentic ones. It was our responsibility to be exceptionally nice, always forgiving, forever reconciling, perpetually turning the other cheek, and constantly learning how to be walked over without a complaint.
I run into people once in a while who gave me some of the hardest times of my life… people who were pivotal in splitting my church in 1997 and people who shunned me and my family after we left the church in 2010.
For a long time I felt the need to be nice to them. I felt the need to help them feel okay. I felt the need to let them know I forgave them and they were allowed to hurt me all over again.
I’ve learned a lot over the last several years, and one of the big ones is that I don’t have to be exceptionally nice all the time.
It’s not my responsibility to make them feel good. It’s my responsibility to myself to forgive them if I want to, but I no longer feel the need to bend over backwards for anyone… unless I really want to.
Yes, I can smile and say hi. But I don’t have to exude warm fuzzies if I don’t want to.
They owe me nothing. I owe them nothing.
I think forgiveness can look like that.