For some people, “I’m sorry” spills out of their mouths as easily as saying, “hi”.
They have a lifetime subscription to:
• the “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than approval club” or
• the “I can do whatever I want; then just say, ‘I’m sorry’ club”
“I’m sorry” is said so often that it’s effortless. There’s no thought at all behind those two words—they’re just a practiced phrase that gets them off the hook. They’ve perfected fake sincerity.
Other people never say, “I’m sorry”.
• the “I’m so handsome/tiny/gorgeous that people see only my appearance club”,
• the “everyone likes me, so I can get away with anything I want club” or
• the “I just pretend/insist that I didn’t do or say anything hurtful club”
They’re above apologizing; simply carrying on as if nothing happened, unwilling to accept any responsibility for the pain they cause.
But, when a heartfelt, “I’m sorry” is offered, how do you handle forgiveness?
When others (mere mortals, just like us) truly apologize for something that hurts you, I believe you need to find a grace-filled way to accept that offering. You certainly don’t have to (and I wouldn’t counsel that you should) say, “no problem” or “that’s okay”, but I do believe God wants you to open your heart enough to accept a genuine offering of remorse offered by another. Then, although it may take time, healing can take place.
So, how do you forgive if you never hear those words or you don’t believe they’re sincere?
This can be challenging. You have to get outside your ego, then recognize that for your own well-being, it’s necessary to forgive to move forward. I have had significant experience in this practice. I’ve been hurt, a lot, by people who “should have” loved me. I’ve been betrayed and down on the ground crying out for God to help me understand; to bring me peace; to help me move forward. It’s tough. Especially when you’re feeling completely broken, but I do know it’s possible.
Forgiveness can be a gift you bequest to another, but it should be something you do for yourself too.
Forgiveness isn’t genuine if it’s offered to make another feel worse since you’re taking the higher road. It shouldn’t be shrouded in “I hope you see how awful you are and how generous of spirit I am.” That kind of forgiveness may “feel” good in that moment but, in the long-term, it won’t bring you peace.
True forgiveness will give you:
• space to think about all the other things that matter
• strengthened spirituality
• an opportunity to create new experiences (maybe one with other people)
• better mental and physical health
• an awareness of compassion
• happiness and grace
Finally, and this is important:
Forgiving does not require forgetting. Nor, does offering forgiveness magically wipe away what happened. But, forgiveness opens doors to contentment, and freedom from pain, and peace—blessed peace. That’s something we all can use.
I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment and let me know what you’re thinking, and please check the box so that you get my response. Thank You!
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