Too often, I think we minimize or brush off our own hurt. Someone offends or wounds us, and even if they ask us about it we say dismissively, “It’s okay.” But it’s not okay. We’re bleeding inside, and our relationship with the other person has been damaged.
I believe we do both ourselves and the other person a disservice when we aren’t honest about the hurts we receive. Honesty is, in fact, a prerequisite to forgiveness – and forgiveness is the healing balm for both our wounded soul and the wounded relationship.
But being honest can be a tough proposition! So here are four guidelines to help practice healthy honesty:
First, don’t assume the other person realizes that they hurt you. The truth is, we sometimes mis-communicate or are ignorant of the effect of what we said or did.
Second, don’t point fingers. Honesty isn’t about lashing out and hurting or condemning the other person. Simply state what happened and how it made you feel.
Third, keep to the point. Don’t bring up past wounds or mask the present problem with specious arguments. Keep to the current issue and deal with it.
Fourth, don’t demand that the other person ask your forgiveness. Forgiveness must be freely asked for and freely given. Just do your part: be honest.