The act of forgiving is powerful. Forgiveness not only has the power of releasing the burden of guilt from the perpetrator, but it also frees the forgiver. There are many people in this world that carry their guilt around because they either never learned how to apologize, or for whatever reason ( guilt, shame, hurt) didn’t feel they were worthy enough to ask for it. I’ve tried to teach my children that when you do something that warrants an apology, give it and do it as soon as you realize you’ve made a mistake or caused pain or trouble. It not only speaks of your character, it allows the person you’ve wronged resolution – the act isn’t just for the person that you’re apologizing to – it’s just as equally important for you. It doesn’t make you weak, on the contrary; It gives you the freedom to move ahead and THAT makes you stronger.
I think that some that will read this post and might think it an odd subject matter, that grown folks know how to say ‘I’m sorry’ and keep it moving. You’d be surprised at the number of people that I’ve come in contact with in my lifetime that couldn’t move forward because they have some pent up anger, guilt, grief, shame or hatred for someone because either they weren’t apologized to (sincerely) or hadn’t apologized for an infraction that they knew warranted it. If you find yourself in either situation, you need to get busy making that apology – even if and I would say especially if you are just apologizing to yourself. The stress that isn’t being released can make you sick. It can also make you toxic – or both and more importantly it can (and will) impede your ability to move forward.
Though I’ve tried to pass this information to my own children, recently I faced a situation where my youngest son said some pretty hateful things in anger to his sister. Things that if someone that was not related to her had uttered those words, they probably would have been beaten within an inch of their lives by the same kid that said them. He was angry – very angry and she was devastated. When the smoke cleared a bit and both had finally calmed down, I talked to both of them repeatedly. She wasn’t in a forgving mood and he couldn’t bring himself to ask for forgiveness. Real life – it happens, even when you know better. Fast forward over a couple of weeks, them barely speaking to one another, not in a cooperative mood, and like an open wound, those feelings were allowed to fester. Neither of them getting to benefit from the simple act of forgiving.
During the time they weren’t speaking to each other, I talked to both of them. Him because no matter how angry he was, he needed to apologize. I told him that if something happened to her and he hadn’t apologized, he would carry that with him forever – and it’s a lot easier to ask someone else to forgive you than it is for you to forgive yourself, especially when you no longer have the opportunity to do it. I spoke with her because she needed to forgive him, to release her anger with him and get rid of the toxicity building in her heart. I’m pleased to say that they’ve worked it out. Forgiveness, it’s not for wimps. It’s powerful medicine and it can cure what ails you.