It really was that bad. It really was wrong.
Forgiving does not mean we take the edge off the evil of what was done to us. Wrong is wrong.
Ann's choice to have an affair was wrong. It was sin. Owning that evil helped me out in several ways.
- It helped me to own my own sin and evil in the relationship. I made calls to another woman that I concealed. I emailed I love you and wrote an occasional card to another woman that I concealed from Ann. Even though I had become sober I was able to own how difficult the early years of our relationship were with my drinking. Perhaps you don't have the overt sins I committed. Owning 'the wrong' of her actions also helped me to more fully own the subtle self-centeredness I battle with every day. We all do.
- It gave me permission to explore how her choice to have an affair was understandable. I was able to see her good desires for affection and fun, her family history of sexual sin, her history of sexual abuse, the ways I hurt her heart and how all that played out in setting the stage for the affair. It didn't make her choice less evil. It made it more understandable.
- It helped to deepen the meaning of my eventual forgiveness of the wounds those acts created. By not smoothing things over and minimizing the evil in her deception we both experienced more freedom when I forgave. It was really THAT bad. God's grace for each of us is really THAT big and we are able to pass it on to one another.
Forgiveness doesn't take the edge off the evil of what was done to us. It looks it square in the face.