“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” ~Oscar Wilde
That quote always makes me smile. Because it’s true. Enemies wish you ill will. They want bad things to happen to you. They despise you from afar. They speak about you behind your back. They attempt to sabotage your every turn.
Forgiveness stops them in their tracks. Confuses them. Throws them off their game.
“You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” – English Idiom
I feel I’m pretty good at forgiveness. Or forgetfulness, I can’t remember. I have a little personality quirk that helps me to forget wrong doing fairly quickly. On more than one occasion I’ve mused about a person from the past and my husband will say to me, “What about the time she stole your lesson plan idea, got complimented on it and called it her own?” or “You’re talking about the same administrator that didn’t have your back when the parent was a wealthy board member?”
It’s OK. It’s all good. I’ve moved on.
Where I struggle is between forgiveness and allowing the person to continue to drag you down.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” – English Idiom
Is there a line between protecting yourself and forgiveness? Does forgiveness open the door for enemies to hurt you again?
I toddle on this line. I have people in my life, family members even, that I must protect myself from. Their negativity, their unkind words, their judgement and cruelty. I’m a forgiving person but if I distance myself, if I avoid contact – it is seen as an unforgiving move, as resentment and anger.
But I’m just protecting myself. I refuse to be pulled down.