When I was studying law, I came across a term I’d never heard of, but loved. Condonation, the act of overlooking an offense. It’s a pardon, often implied, given by carrying on with business as usual. You treat the sinner like no sin happened. It happens a lot in family law.
Condonation in the eyes of the law means you can’t come back later and change your mind. This is a biggie. If you forgive an offense, you forgive it. In the eyes of the law, you aren’t allowed to drag it out years later to make the offender pay. Of course, people try. They give many reasons why condoning shouldn’t be held against them. Some of the reasons are valid: victims of abuse and gaslighting aren’t really in a place to condone. The precariousness of their situation makes it different from that of the majority.
That doesn’t prevent people from trying. People often drag old business into the present, hoping they can make it relevant. In law, it’s not valid, and in life, it’s counterproductive. Rehashing old hurts to lash out and seek revenge when you’ve already ostensibly moved on helps no one.
The best thing to do after you’ve forgiven is to forget. Let it go. Not the memories, and that’s the part that confused me for a long time. How am I supposed to forget? Hypnosis? Repression? Those don’t seem like good ideas. Luckily, I was wrong, and site-specific amnesia isn’t required. You don’t let go of the facts. You let go of the pain.
You let the hot and hard emotions, once you’ve decided on acceptance, go. The protection you think you’re getting from hanging on and keeping the emotions live pales in comparison to the peace you gain from letting go. Forgiveness is a balm, and it soothes the bestower. The person who suffers when rage and hate are kept hot is the victim.
I decided I didn’t want that for them. I didn’t want to give my abusers the power to destroy my life. That isn’t to say I think that this sinner or that one is a fine and decent person. They’re still vile, and they still did horrible things they’ll be called to account for. This I know for a fact. However, with regard to those that “done me wrong,” I mostly no longer get hot.
That’s freedom, when other people’s actions don’t impact my emotional life. Nothing would be served if I changed my mind and decided to hate aggressively where I’d previously let go.
Besides, if hate and rage are something I need in my life, I only need to look at the day’s news to find a new and fresh target.