Do you have to forgive people who have hurt you?

Do you have to forgive people who have hurt you?

by Jacquie Wise

At Christmas time we are often thrown together with people we don’t especially like, or worse, with whom we’ve fallen out. General advice tells you to forgive, to be loving…not necessarily easy, nor appropriate. So what other options do you have?

We can keep away from outmoded friends, but it’s not so simple with family. Sometimes it’s one member we have a problem with, but it can affect our relationships with those we truly love to be with.

SO—what to do when you’re going to have to mingle with them at Christmas, Hanuka or New Year celebrations?

As far as I’m concerned, there is only one way to behave. And that is with dignity. I prefer to behave graciously with everyone and not create tension that will spoil the atmosphere for others.

If you haven’t seen them for some time, there will be news in which you can take interest. You will choose what to tell them about yourself, but tell them enough to keep the conversation flowing. Keep the conversation general and away from inflammatory topics.

If they say something offensive, be quiet. This is not the time to respond and certainly not to retaliate. You can say softly ‘That was unnecessary’ and move on.

If there is going to be any sarcasm or rudeness, let it come from them, not you. If there are going to be any nasty jibes, let it come from them, not you.

Any gossip that follows the occasion will be about their bad behaviour, not yours.

They are to be pitied after all, if they are so immature and miserable as to be out of control.

Be compassionate and smile to yourself, because you are not like them. Focus on having a good time and spreading joy wherever you can. That’s what this time of year is all about.

I’d love to hear your comments about this article or stories you can tell of how you handled a difficult situation. If you’re stuck with someone who’s a thorn in your side, email or call…

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