Have you been practicing gratitude this week? I hope so. It’s a game-changer when you faithfully practice it. Studies show that we all have limited attention. Watch this video to see an example of what you can miss and not even know it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY
We don’t see everything, even when it’s obvious or right in front of our eyes. Therefore, we must learn to pay attention to what is true, good, right, and pure, beautiful, and admirable lest we miss it in the midst of hard, awful, toxic, ugly, deceitful, abusive, and cruel. (See Philippians 4:8,9.)
If you want to learn how to change your mindset to change your life story, please make sure to sign up for my free workshop on December 7th by clicking here: https://leslievernick.com/joinworkshop
Today’s Question: What if the person you sinned against continues to bring up your sins against you even though you’ve apologized, tried to make amends, and done all you know to do?
Answer: Thank you for this question because sometimes we’re taught that repentance and making amends fixes every broken relationship. But your experience shows otherwise. You say you’ve done that, and yet, the other person won’t let it go. He or she continues to bring your sins up to you.
Without knowing any more details, my first thought is that what you think you’ve done to demonstrate repentance and make amends isn’t helping the other person get past the hurt and broken trust over what you’ve done.
May I ask you a few questions? Have these sins been a pattern in your relationship with this person? Have you repented before and still continued to sin in this same way? If so, this person may have good reason not to feel safe with you or trust you. This person is bringing these sins up again because he or she may be afraid. Their experience with you is that your amends are short-lived and you will repeat your offense.
What steps have you taken to make sure that this doesn’t happen again? Are you in personal counseling? Do you have accountability? Have you set up good personal and interpersonal boundaries against temptation?
Second, have you taken responsibility for the pain you’ve caused this person? Sometimes we believe that if we say we’re sorry and truly mean it, the other person should be over it. He or she shouldn’t want to talk about it or want to make us feel bad or ashamed. But perhaps this person bringing it up, again and again, is a way of saying, “I’m not over it yet. I need to process the pain I’m in, the pain you caused me. I need you to understand the impact your sin has had on me and our relationship.”
[Tweet “Yes, that makes you feel bad (guilt and shame) but feeling bad is appropriate when you’ve caused another person great pain.”] Having compassion and empathy for the pain you’ve caused someone helps you not do it again.
You say you’ve done all you know to do, but have you asked this person what could you do that would help him or her feel safe again? Or trust you again? Maybe asking would help you see that there is much more you could do to make amends and show the fruit of repentance.
But there is also another side to this. Let’s assume you have done all that, but the person whose forgiveness you are seeking is unwilling to forgive. He or she is unwilling to let it go and wants to punish you over and over again for the pain you caused. Now what?
I’d encourage you to have an honest conversation with this person and ask, “I’ve done all I can to show you my sorrow over my own sin and the pain I’ve caused you. I don’t know what else to do to make this right. Why do you keep bringing it up?”
Stop, and let him or her reflect on what they’re getting from repeatedly ripping the bandage off the relationship wound. This is their work to do, and sadly some will not do it. They gain satisfaction and self-righteousness blaming you and being the victim.
The truth is, it takes two to heal a broken relationship and perhaps you have done all you can do, but the other person is unable or unwilling to let it go. What does that mean for you? Well, you can give it time and prayer, hoping that the other person will do his or her own work. You can have boundaries about how much you are willing to discuss it anymore. You ask curious questions like why are they struggling to let it go. [Tweet “But at the end of the day, if the other person is unable or unwilling to forgive you, or unable or unwilling to rebuild trust, then you have some hard choices to make about the viability of the relationship.”]
Friend, when someone has hurt you or betrayed your trust, what happened to the relationship? If it was repaired, what was done to repair that broken trust and safety?
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