Forgiveness Day – Lies are often Forgiven but rarely Forgotten
Our nationwide polygraph examiners deal with lies several times per day. Even when the results of a polygraph examination show deception, we see a lot of forgiveness too.
However, there are many misconceptions about what forgiveness is. Before explaining what it is let’s take a look at what it is not, when related to lies and the harm they cause.
Forgiveness is not:
- A feeling – If it were no one would ever forgive anyone because we wouldn´t “feel” we wanted to
- A weakness – To acknowledge the pain lies cause, and tell the liar how you feel takes enormous inner strength
- Concealing it or pretending it didn´t happen – Nor does it mean forgetting it, lies are often forgiven but rarely forgotten
- A method to excuse or condone the lie – Nor that we should try to justify or minimise it. As humans we can forgive without excusing the deed
- Reconciling our relationships – For example, you may forgive infidelity, but you might not wish to reconcile with your partner
- Based on the actions of the person who has hurt us – This person may never apologise or ask to be forgiven, yet we can still forgive
- Conditional – For example, “I’ll forgive you if you do this”
- Justice – For that you would need an apology, an acknowledgement of the lie and a punishment or reward. It’s possible to forgive with or without justice
- Attempting to change a person, their deeds or behaviour
- A replacement for trust – We should forgive freely, but trust is earned over time developed through consistent honesty
- A method to change the past – but forgiveness may change the future in helping to heal relationships
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is deciding to free your mind of the hurt, pardon the person who wronged you and move forward with your life.
With most infidelity lie detector tests, when a partner has been deceptive, the cheating is forgiven. However, to make the relationship whole again requires an ability to not constantly think about the betrayal. Without relationship counselling this can be almost impossible to do. Dwelling on the issue will not improve matters.
By making the decision to forgive, you are also choosing to let go of any feelings of vengeance, anger, resentment or bitterness you feel toward the wrongdoer. And by pardoning him or her, you have chosen not to punish them or to use their wrongdoing against them in the future. You perhaps now understand why true forgiveness requires so much inner strength.
Forgiving someone who has lied to you and hurt you with those lies, isn´t easy and may take time. But it very much depends on how much you value the relationship with the person balanced against the pain.
As polygraph examiners and forensic psychologists, we know that lies are often forgiven but rarely forgotten. This means that we often see the same client more than once. If they have been caught cheating once, suspicions arise in the partner that they may be doing it again.
The same applies to theft within the family. Once the thief has been exposed, when something goes missing there is an immediate assumption that they have stolen again.
However, for all our clients this year who are thinking about forgiving the liar we exposed in their life maybe Forgiveness Day is an ideal time to make that life changing decision.