Forgiving Tolerance

"You can forgive someone almost anything. But you cannot tolerate everything...We don't have to tolerate what people do just because we forgive them for doing it. Forgiving heals us personally. To tolerate everything only hurts us all in the long run." – Lewis B. Smedes

Forgiveness is a funny thing. I ran across this quote the other day and it’s been working its wily ways in my head ever since. Started me thinking about boundaries and how they relate to forgiveness and tolerance.

I’ve never been good at putting up boundaries, it’s part of that whole wear my heart on my sleeve thing. What that also means however, is that I have an extraordinarily high tolerance for a great many things. I mean, sure, I can get up on one of my many soapboxes and talk about respect and personal responsibility and how I won’t tolerate a lack of either one in my life, but the truth is that I’ve long tolerated a great many disrespects in my life. Although only when it comes to me. I will break apart those soapboxes and beat people senseless for any disrespect done to someone I love. But my own personal boundaries are pretty much nonexistent.

It’s something I’ve been really trying to work on the past few months. Although I must say that putting up boundaries in friendships and relationships that have existed for 10 years or more is not an easy task. It’s sort of like trying to build a dam in the middle of a raging river without getting wet.

One of the things that I’ve realized is that forgiveness plays a tremendous role in being able to put up those boundaries. Learning how to forgive myself for not feeling worthy enough to put up the boundaries to begin with is huge. And even though I’m sure it will sound strange and maybe even a wee bit conceited, learning how to forgive those in my life for not helping me put up boundaries is another.

It’s about not only taking care of the people I love, but also about encouraging them to take care of me. Allowing them to. And forgiving us both when we forget.

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