Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday, also known as the day of atonement. That means this is our time to repent and ask God for forgiveness of our sins. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to write about why you should forgive your ex, since it is something in divorce that in my opinion so rarely exists.
Let me set this up by validating how a divorced person might feel. Maybe your spouse left you for another women or man. You burn with anger and you feel an injustice like never before. Why is he or she allowed to end up happy while you are alone? It’s not fair!!!
Or, here is what I hear from lots of divorced men, “she kicked me out and then took my kids and now I have to pay her every month and I see my kids two nights every other weekend.”
Another scenario is that there could possibly have been mental or physical abuse or cheating. How on earth do you forgive that??!!
I’m not saying it’s easy to forgive your ex, but I want readers to CONSIDER the following 3 reasons why you should, and the benefits forgiveness offers YOU.
1. Forgive your ex for your children:
Every single thing you do in life, every action, every word you speak, every facial expression, every action is being watched by your children, who are eventually going to (if they don’t already) emulate millions of things you and your ex do.
Don’t you want them to learn forgiveness? Don’t they deserve to know the power of forgiveness? How it can change their lives? If your children mean the world to you (which is one of the only blanket statements I feel I can make when I write) then forgive your ex solely for your kids’ benefit.
2. Forgive your ex for yourself:
When you forgive someone, you are releasing your anger, you are showing compassion and understanding, and you are displaying behavior of grace and acceptance. Doing all of those things will help you move on, but it will also make you love yourself.
It will make you proud of the person you are. So, in effect, you’re forgiving to benefit your own life. Who wants to walk around with anger, bitterness and that burning in them? Isn’t that exhausting? Get rid of it. I’ll go so far as to say you should tell your ex you have decided to forgive him or her. Your ex will either laugh in your face and say, “Well, I don’t forgive you,” or he or she might jump on your bandwagon, thank you for being so brave, and apologize. Whatever happens, you can know in your heart that you did the most gracious and mature thing you could have done.
3. Forgive your ex because that’s what God says we should do:
Forgiveness in the Jewish religion goes back to the 13 attributes of mercy, which are the words that God taught Moses for the people to use whenever they needed to beg for divine compassion. God said to Moses, “Whenever Israel sins, let them recite this [the Thirteen Attributes] in its proper order and I will forgive them.” Thus this appeal to God’s mercy reassures us that repentance is always possible and that God always awaits our return.”**
So, if God is willing to forgive us when we ask for forgiveness, then shouldn’t we do the same when it comes to others, no matter what?
In closing, let me say this. Forgiving your ex doesn’t mean you forget what he or she did or how they acted. It also doesn’t mean you have changed your mind on his or her behavior being OK. In other words, that you accept it. You know what happened. You know how he or she treated you. You know the truth and why you got divorced. You never have to change how you feel. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t forgive.
Forgiving after divorce might be one of the hardest things a person has to deal with, but if you can do it, you will truly see the benefits, so much more than you realize.
Like this article? Check out, “20 Things I wish I could have told my newly separated self”