What exactly does forgiveness mean?
I am in a little bit of a pickle. And to tell you about this pickle, I will need to tell you a little bit of my history. I was raised by my grandparents since I was a baby. My mother was married with two children and when she found herself unintentionally pregnant she moved back home to her parents house and her husband followed. Without going into too much detail, my father left six months after I was born. My mom packed up and took my two brothers down to Baltimore with her, leaving me with my grandparents.
I had strong parenting models in my life. My grandparents were just like parents, just a little older. They raised me like their own. But I was estranged from my mother and I never saw my father. Needless to say, this left me with deep psychological issues, mainly a fear of abandonment. It also takes me a while to open up to people and I have few close friends. I also tell my husband that I love him almost a hundred times a day.
I don't have much of a relationship with my mother, and I don't particularly want one. She was not happy when I decided to convert to Catholicism at the age of 13, she didn't understand why I wanted to go to college, and she was not fond of my decision to marry a man 25 years my senior. I just seem to tolerate her. But I've never met my father and I like it that way.
That, however, is about to change. My older brother is finally getting married in September. My father is coming to the wedding. Ugh. For years my mother and brothers have been trying to get us to reconcile and it is almost like they expect me to take the first steps. My father has never written to me, sent me a birthday card, and until 2 years ago, has never tried to contact me. Now, two years ago his current girlfriend requested my friendship via Facebook. I allowed it because she seemed like a nice woman and I wasn't gonna hold her relationship with my father against her. However, the next day my father sent a message using her account. I found it pathetic that he would try to reconcile with his 26 year old daughter via Facebook and I instructed his girlfriend to keep him at bay or else I would block her.
Now I am going to have to confront this head on, and at an event that is inappropriate for the situation; my brothers wedding. I have little doubt that I am going to be cornered into a confrontation where I will need to stay face and not cause a scene, but in the end I am probably going to be labeled the bad guy for refusing to reconcile. But, I personally do not care what my mother or brothers think, they can label me the bad guy all that they want.
What I am trying to reconcile is if it is my Christian duty to put these feelings aside, swallow my feelings and reconcile with my father. Is THAT forgiveness? What exactly is forgiveness? I don't want a relationship with my father. Is that because I haven't forgiven him? Or is forgiveness treating him civilly and nothing more? I truly do not know. Not when it comes to this.