I’m in the mood tonight to write, and I want to write about forgiveness. It’s a subject that has been on my mind (what’s left of it), and forgiveness is an issue I’ve been trying to deal with. There are two sides to this coin.
You can look at forgiveness from both sides. Heads, you’ve been asked to forgive, or tails, you are the one asking forgiveness of another.
Recently I have felt the need to ask a few people to forgive me for an unkind word, or a mean and thoughtless act. I needed and wanted to do this to clear my conscience, but also I genuinely wanted them to know that I really was sorry for how I made them feel by my atrocious behavior.
I learned something years ago. There are times when “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. What do you really mean when you say “I’m sorry”? What are you sorry for? Sorry you got caught? Sorry the other person was so sensitive? How you say it might make some difference. “OK, I’m SORRY!”. That doesn’t sound too good, it could be taken as “OK, shut up about it already!”. “I am SO sorry”. Does that seem like it lacks a little sincerity? It could.
There are seven little words that you could say instead that are much more powerful and the meaning will never be misconstrued.
“I was wrong, will you forgive me?”
There. You owned it. Those seven words are difficult to say, but they will make your heart feel better. They will make the other person feel better. I know, I’ve said them a lot lately.
It’s up to the other person now. They can say “yes, I forgive you” or “you rotten B@s^@8#! Not in a million years!!” If they choose not to forgive you, then they own it. You can go on your way knowing that you did the right thing because it was the right thing to do, even if you did not get the forgiveness you were seeking.
I’ve been on the other side as well. I’ve had people tell me how sorry they were they hurt me. They seemed sincere. I forgave them. Those people really didn’t mean to hurt me though. It wasn’t that big of a deal, it was a slip of the tongue, or a thoughtless act. I’ve also heard “will you forgive me?” I did. It made a difference when they admitted they were wrong. If I had doubted their sincerity when they just said “I’m sorry”, I might not have forgiven them.
There are other people in my life who have hurt me, some of them intentionally. Some of them caused me a great deal of pain. Pain that in some instances I still feel. I think that pain has changed who I am to some extent. Those people have never said I’m sorry, I was wrong, will you forgive me, or even “OK, I’m SORRY!”
Some of these people I would like to hurt back. I want them to feel pain like I did. Those are ugly thoughts, but I still have them. Way too often. I try, I pray, but I cannot find one ounce of forgiveness for those “rotten B@s^@8#!”s!” They deserve to suffer. But they also might deserve my forgiveness. Not for them, but for me.
Those are two sides to the forgiveness coin. The edge of the coin is where the one who forgives and the one who asks forgiveness meet. That’s where it really counts. It’s how you react when that moment comes.
How about you? Are there those in your life who you need to forgive? Are you going to find forgiveness in your heart for them? Are there those who you need to ask forgiveness of? It takes courage. Muster some up and do it. You’ll be surprised what might happen.
Forgiveness. I need to learn to forgive. I’m not very good at it. If those I feel wronged by don’t ask or ever acknowledge that they cause me to suffer, I will continue to suffer until I learn to let it go anyway, to forgive. I hope that in 2013 I can learn that.
Forgive me if I don’t.
As always, thanks for reading my blog. I hope your visit to The Wild Whirled Of Boppin’ Bill inspired you to think a little, and I will value your comments.