I wrote earlier this year about the idea of being the one who wronged someone. That post can be found here. That post deal with five specific things that someone who has wronged another can do and some issues to be aware of during the restoration process.

But what about the person who was wronged? What can you do to help restore the process when you have been wronged and your heart hurts despite the fact that you want to forgive and restore? The following is an incomplete list of ideas.

  1. You have to commit to forgive the person. Too often we think that forgiveness is something that magically happens. This magic suddenly takes away our hurt and anger toward the person. Nothing could be further from the truth. Forgiveness is almost always something that happens over time. You could be cruising along doing fine and something will be said, or done that brings up new (or old) anger and hurt. It is at these times that we must remember our commitment to forgive the offender. Without this commitment, forgiveness rarely happens.
  2. Don't expect a linear jump from point A to point B. Moving from point where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow is rarely, if ever, a strait shot. It usually takes time moving back and forth with small successes and little set backs. This is normal and to be expected.
  3. Set strong boundaries. This is one of the areas where I see people go too far one way or the other. Either they tend to make it impossible for a person to actually build a relationship or they simply let the person have complete access to their life. Both are unhealthy. Setting strong boundaries is great way to protect everyone. Boundaries are all around us in life, keeping us safe. They need to be a part of our relationships as well.
  4. Give the offender opportunites to earn your trust back. I get push back on this one from both sides. Relationships build over time. They don't spontaneously combust. Relationships need to be rebuilt the same way.
  5. Offer real hope/Check your ego at the door/There needs to be an end. One way or another there needs to be another. No one can force you to be in relationship with them so if you choose to be in a relationship with someone you have to offer real hope that eventually there will be an end to the "rebuilding phase." This means you'll have to check your ego at the door as well. That will be hard because you will have the burden of righteous anger in your belly. If you decide that this person cannot be trusted again enough to be in a relationship than be honest with them. Tell them. If you think you can be in relationship with them but you will never be as close as you used to be, then tell them. The key here is communicating what you are thinking. Giving out confusing signals usually happens when we do one thing but say another. This often happens because we're hoping against hope that something that has never changed will change with little to no intervention. Life typically, does not work that way.
  6. Look for a new normal, not the way things used to be. Things will probably not go back to the way they were before the incident. They may turn out better (I have found this is often true when both parties commit to reconciliation). Things may never be close to the same. Relationship grow, change, and die. It takes two people to reconcile. I believe we all have a responsibility to forgive but we do not have to put ourselves in a position to be constantly wronged again and again.

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