When forgiving the Other Woman sets you free

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

Sitting across from her in a quaint, used-to-be coffee shop, she says it. “I have an exciting story to tell.”

I’m holdin’ my fresh, double-dipped-in-butter hot pretzel, baptizing that baby in a cup of cheese, which is Italian for “heavenly manna.” And I’m listening.

“This morning, she called me. I’ve been waiting for that phone call.” I dunk and nibble, licking salt and butter from my fingers. It’s just so sinfully good.

“About 2-1/2 years ago, my husband was unfaithful.” Oh. Yes. I had forgotten this part of her story. She’d only mentioned it once; that was all. And from all I could see, she’d not been living in the black and horrid shadow of his betrayal. She’d never brought it up again, which is probably why I’d forgotten it.

But today, that call, and her story.

“She apologized to me and asked for my forgiveness.” To the left of us, our boys are a batch of hot worms. Game pieces drop and clatter on the long, wooden table. Someone begins a chase, and we squelch it.

“I forgave her (long ago), but I wanted to hear that apology. My husband had already apologized to both families.”

I’m watching her face, her eyes, intently. There is no bitterness. No anger. Her gaze is clear, her countenance full of peace.

“I thought to myself, she is living under guilt and shame. I am only living with anger.” Huuhhh. I’d never thought of it like that.

She’s still talkin’. “And I thought, ‘Which would I rather be living under, guilt and shame or anger?’” She’s droppin’ it like it’s hot, this amazing, amazing girl. “I decided I would rather live with the anger. Because I can set that aside.”

My goodness.

“They say, you don’t forgive for the other person. You forgive for yourself. But I think…maybe unforgiveness on my part could hold her back?

“I wanted her to be free to move forward. I thought, ‘What if it had been me? What would I want?’”

I know in my heart what she’s askin’. Would I want mercy and grace, or rage and revenge?

And I knew–I could see what her choice was. She’d chosen mercy and grace, an open heart, open hands.

In choosing to forgive both her husband and the Other Woman, she had chosen Life. And that choice had brought freedom, not only for her own heart, but for her spouse and for the spouse of another.

That choice had preserved her own family. Had allowed

“She told me that she woke up today and thought, ‘Today is the day.’” And she made that call to the woman (my friend) who’d been waitin’ many months to hear her voice.

To extend forgiveness and mercy and grace. “I told her, ‘I wish I could give you a hug.’”

Her story’s finished. I feel speechless. Like I’ve been sittin’ on that one mountain, listenin’ to the best Teacher when He laid out His heart for His followers. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

On a warm July day, forgiveness has a face, has a name, and mercy looks like chains falling free. From one hurt woman to another.

All grace.


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