This week's challenge:

This week, I will forgive someone’s behavior without excusing it. And I will let them take responsibility for what unfolds as a result.

In the space between Blaming and Excusing, there is a middle choice that offers us a chance to maintain important bonds and relationships in our lives without becoming either a doormat or a persecutor. When we forgive someone’s actions, it doesn’t mean that we are okay with what they did. It simply means that we can love and value a person without agreeing with every thing they do or say. We might even come to appreciate the imperfect humanness of others and give them the gift of forgiveness that allows them to make mistakes and take responsibility for their own consequences. When we don’t forgive, we actually hurt ourselves by harboring years of negative thoughts that hurt us internally and make us unpleasant to be around.

Avoiding Excusing (Overuse):

When someone does something to hurt us or hurt those we love, we might even carry a grudge for many years, even decades. This happens because we don’t understand the distinction between forgiving and excusing. In contrast to the suffering of blame, we can also create internal suffering if we accept damaging or disrespectful behavior over and over by excusing it. When given excuses, the other person feels they have permission not to change. In this way, we become a doormat and lose respect for ourselves, ultimately losing the respect of the other person too. Working in the middle to forgive in a balanced way means understanding no one is perfect – while asserting that we expect others to take responsibility for their actions if they want to be in relationship with us too.

Commendable Trait: Forgiving
Underused: Blaming
Overused: Excusing
Strength: Consideration
Quadrant: Humanity