How many times in your life have you apologized for something? Of those times, how many did you really mean?
How many times in your life has someone told you they’re sorry or asked you to forgive them? Of those times, how often did you honestly forgive versus just saying you did?
It’s hard, or at the very least uncomfortable, having these conversations that involve the need to ask for or grant forgiveness. Humans are full of pride and self-righteousness, and being in the wrong on any given situation can cause denial, indignation and a handful of excuses or blame to cast on another. Rarely does it result in humility in approaching the person we have hurt, intentionally or otherwise, and saying ‘I’m sorry’. It’s also much easier and convenient for us humans to withhold the freedom of forgiveness. To many, ‘Let that be a lesson to you’ is a preferred response over ‘Thank you for saying so; I forgive you’.
I propose it does not have to be uncomfortable and we can learn to make it sincere and mean something beautiful. In this learning, perhaps we can make the act of seeking and granting forgiveness not just sincere, but much less hard to perform too.
I remember reading an article one time that pointed out when we make the excuse of ‘Oh, I didn’t mean it when I said that hurtful thing or committed this hurtful act’, well then, who did? Because it was YOU after all who said it or did it. So if you didn’t mean it, who did mean it? Who was it exactly that was invading your body and speaking for you or acting on your behalf? Because it sure seemed like it was you.
There’s in-your-face reasoning.
The article also pointed out that saying things like ‘I didn’t mean it’ is no apology at all. Neither is ‘I’m sorry, but just so you know I didn’t mean it’. Those words remove the speaker’s responsibility from whatever he/she is referring to and in turn puts it back on the listener to resolve their own dilemma or hang-up about it.
Which is totally out of line. First you say or do something hurtful, then you say you didn’t mean it, then you basically leave it to the person who has been wronged to deal with the fallout all on their own.
If this is sounding familiar to you in any way as something you have done or continue to do, I’m pleading with you to please stop. No one deserves to be hurt and then forced to listen to a half-hearted non-apology and then further burdened with fixing it all alone and with no assistance from you.
It is also important to point out that we have these defense mechanisms in ourselves for a reason. There may actually be real-life situations where you have said something that you did not mean, and it just flew out of your mouth for no other reason than your own need for immediate protection against fear or some other form of vulnerability. That’s a different subject to be sure, but it still proves a similar point: what kind of conversation do you really need to be having with the person you’re saying these defensive things to? And somewhere along the way, will a sincere granting of or seeking of forgiveness be in order?
I’m asking a lot of questions in here, and the intention is for you to spend time reflecting on how YOU ask for or respond to a request of forgiveness. Do you mean it? Do you really mean it? Whether you’re on the asking side or the granting side, do you really mean it?
I hope you do. Words (non-hyperbolic words) and actions are important. Events define our lives and make us who we are. How we respond to those events can make us happy or miserable, content or full or regrets, feeling good about things or totally out of sorts.
Without sounding all Pollyanna here, l will offer once more as I have in other posts that I intentionally choose to be a happy person instead of wallowing in misery over the events of my childhood. I intentionally choose to be content with my life rather than regret what could-have-been had someone else been my father (but then, I wouldn’t be me, would I?). I intentionally choose to feel good about who I am because I am both forgiven and forgiving.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to ask someone to forgive you or someone asks you for your forgiveness, I urge you to pause for just a moment and consider how you will choose your words and your actions.
Will you be sincere about it all? Will you really mean it when you say you are sorry or say that you forgive?
No Molly-tie-in for this post. This is all about us humans, though I still believe we can look at our canine and other animal companions and learn a thing or two about living right.
Stay safe everyone, enjoy and God Bless!