24th Sunday Ordinary Time – Forgiving vs. Setting Boundaries…
First off… It seems right to add a bit of finesse to Jesus’ injunction of forgiving “seventy-seven times.” And it seems most applicable in the area of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Which raises the question: “Does forgiveness mean letting an abuser have total and on-going access to me, especially if he/she keeps apologizing and promising to change?”
Oh, hell no.
It takes some of us a long time to learn how to set boundaries – often enough, women, and some of us guys – to pull up the draw-bridge, to deny access to another, whether abusive or not. This seems like one of the more significant skills to gain so that becoming significantly grounded, one can more freely choose how, when, and whether to enter on the process of forgiving an other.
I do believe reconciliation is possible in every case. Possible, not guaranteed and oftentimes impossible. A lot of it depends upon way too many things to list here.
Forgiveness in this instance seems to be a whole other project which may or may not come to fruition in this lifetime.