A dear friend came to me recently with a problem. Someone she loved - someone she trusted implicitly - had lied to her. Not a white lie, mind you. Not a "keep a secret so she'll be surprised" kind of lie. This was a doozy. The issue isn't whether she can forgive and forget. It's: should she? When we are faced with a reality that is so far apart than what we believed, is it possible to trust again? And not just that specific person, but anyone for that matter?
I think sometimes it's healthy to hold a grudge. I think we need to hold on to a bit of the anger, so that we don't make that same mistake again. How do we get past the lie? And if we forgive, do we ever really forget?
On the other hand, doesn't everyone deserve a second chance? How do we know if the person truly just made a terrible error in judgement...or if we misjudged their character?
This is the advice I gave to my dear friend: First of all, take time. Time to be angry. And sad. Time to realize that the way one person treats you does not define you. And then, and only then, when you're feeling stronger, you can begin to forgive. But, forget? I don't think so. Better to remember. Let it strengthen your resolve. And remind you never to go against your own morals and values.
And if the person apologizes, profusely, and truly seems sincere, then go ahead and accept the apology. And explain that you're working on forgiveness. But don't forget. And remember this: Actions speak louder than words. If the words belie the actions, then it's time to move on.
Got any of your own advice to share?