The difficult choice of being sorry and forgiveness
Is it hard to say ‘I am sorry’?
Is it hard to forgive – truly forgive?
This post is the how’s and why’s of the critical attribute of apologizing.
Once upon a time, there was a man who borrowed an axe from his neighbor.
He knew in his heart that he had kept it much longer than he should have, finally relented and set off to return it to its rightful owner.
On the way there, the man started having a conversation with himself that went something like this:
- I’ll bet he thinks I’m a louse for keeping it.
- He probably didn’t even want to loan it to me, figuring I wouldn’t bring it back.
- Well the ax has a faulty handle and I had to fix it anyway.
- Yea, he probably thinks I ruined it when in fact I repaired it.
- Why, he should not be angry at me, but grateful.
- I’ll bet he has told all his neighbors what a scoundrel I am for even asking to use it.
- So, now all the people hate me, huh?
- Well, he’s no better than I am, and I fixed his axe!
By the time the man arrived at his neighbor’s house to return the axe, he was in such a tither that he knocked on the door, practically threw the axe at the man and shouted: “I fixed your rotten axe and tell the neighbors what you will, I’ll let them know I did you a favor!” And stomped off.
Do we ever exacerbate a situation? Is it ever our fault?
As for me—
Sometimes I can be such a jerk.
Sometimes I don’t think about what I am saying (my grandpa called it diarrhea of the mouth).
Sometimes I am not considerate.
Sometimes I don’t care if I’m in a bad mood.
Sometimes I use a sharp voice when it’s not needed, or called for.
Sometimes I get impatient.
Sometimes I only care about what I want.
Can you relate? If you are alive, I suspect you can.
Living in this world we do, and being human, we are occasionally careless and thoughtless with others feelings and emotions.
The beauty is, we can say we are sorry when we have caused an offense, whether it was on purpose or by accident.
- Find the person(s) and, without any excuse or ‘passing-the-buck’, simply give a heart-felt and sincere apology of “I’m so sorry”.
But what about when we didn’t mean to do any harm; it was a mistake or an oversight?
It still is our responsibility to ask forgiveness.
Keep in mind, which is more important: being right or the relationship?
- What if another person offends us, and it truly was a cruel thing they did to intentionally hurt you, or your loved ones.
This is complicates the situation, but the rule is the same – we must forgive. Actually, going to that person and asking if they could talk to you about it is best.
Maybe they didn’t realize the repercussions of their actions.
Possibly your bringing it to their attention of the damage they have done, will help them to understand and make positive changes.
Oh, how scary is that proposition?
Women are particularly bad at this. We think others should pick up on our clues that we send into the universe of how they can alter their behavior to our liking.
I believe it is because we are just too afraid to face them and bring up uncomfortable incidents. Yet it makes makes the situation worse, if talking together about it would improve relationships.
- Perhaps they will want to argue the point and see it all as your fault and problem. THEN what?
It is still our responsibility to ask forgiveness, just in case we instigated the problem and did not even realize it. It may be that the only thing you can do is to ask for good relations between the two of you and leave it at that. You cannot change anyone else, just yourself.
One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him. Socrates
Imagine you have a back pack that is light and comfortable for your hike up the mountain.
As you go along, you pick up a rock or two and put them in your back pack. At first, it is not too much trouble, then the back pack begins to be heavier and heavier; now impeding your progress. Your bag becomes full of rocks of all sizes and types.
Because of them, you may not make it to your desired destination. Just think of the beauty, the sites, the friends, the experiences that will all be missed now, simply because of the heavy weight and burdensome load the back pack has become. The rocks did not seem a problem in the beginning, but now weigh you down so much that you are hunched over and almost crawling up the trail.
That is what it is like for us, emotionally and spiritually, when we carry offenses and will not forgive. That of course means that as we ask for forgiveness, the rocks we have put in our own backpack, adding to the bulk, can now be taken out. Just think of how much freedom that will allow!
Forgiving and asking forgiveness is one of the greatest attributes we can refine. Apology and forgiveness – relieves the burden of regret, heals the soul, nourishes the spirit and rewards with love and joy.
As we learn to ask and give forgiveness
Then practice it regularly
Then we are truly able to become a great influence for good in the lives of all around us.
***There are some situations where we must forgive, yet keep the relationship distant for safety reasons, however that is a personal decision and possibly one to be made with counseling. I have no training in this area, just my opinion. I waive all responsibility of repercussions or personal situations.
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.