You can read part one of this article HERE
Another misnomer about forgiveness is the restoration of the relationship. Some folks won’t forgive because they think the relationship must be restored to its original status, and they are afraid of being betrayed again.
This is tricky. Because it’s easy in our humanness to decide we’ve been hurt beyond repair. We won’t allow the relationship to be healed. But the truth is oftentimes relationships are able to be healed if both parties are willing. Unless the offender has betrayed or abused you, and you know the betrayal and abuse will not stop, there’s a good chance restoration is an option.
Especially if you are being abused, the relationship does not have to be restored until the abuser has taken all the steps necessary to get help and you know you are safe. Forgiveness is still important for your health, but restoration can’t come until the abuser is willing to admit his or her problem and get lots of help and healing. Not even the promise of counseling is enough to walk back into an abusive relationship.
Even God has standards for restoration. In order for us to be restored to the relationship humans had with our Creator in the Garden of Eden, we first have to be made new by accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. God forgives long before we ask, but the restoration occurs when we meet his conditions. Human relationships can be the same.
Not that it gives us permission to set up unrealistic conditions and expectations. We don’t get to be dictators or give ultimatums on what has to happen for a relationship to be restored, but in the case of abuse or betrayal, we are allowed to protect ourselves and those around us before a relationship is restored.
There are offenses which are less drastic, though. In fact, most relationship busters are not abusive, most don’t include betrayal. Most are caused by misunderstanding and human error. Many are set off by difference of opinions or judgement. In each of these cases, full restoration is possible if both parties are willing to admit their part in the problem and then offer full and unconditional forgiveness. But both of those things are hard.
Relationships aren’t easy. But they’re worth it if you’re willing to work on it a bit.