I love the subject of apologizing. I had an ‘ah ha’ moment a few years ago while praying the “Our Father” prayer. The part about “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” finally made sense to me on a very deep level.
Here’s what I came to realize: When someone hurt me, I am to forgive them immediately so that, when I hurt someone and ask for forgiveness from the one I hurt and from God, God will forgive me. It’s that simple.
Forgiveness improves your relationship with God first. Forgiving someone for hurting you is a gift to yourself – the gift God has ready for you when you forgive freely. Forgiving others is the healing gift you give to yourself.
A good apology sounds like this:
Sheena: Tarika, I lost your iPod. I am so sorry. It was my fault. I should have been more
responsible. I’m going to buy you another one.
Do you notice the “I” statements? Sheena took full responsibility for losing the iPod, asked for forgiveness, and promised to replace it. She did not come up with seven reasons why Tarika should not have loaned it to her or why her baby brother got hold to it or how the dog probably ate it. Sheena owned her behavior and set out to make it right.
Apologizing does not fix the problem entirely unless you seek forgiveness from that person, own your behavior, and replace what was lost, stolen or broken. If that person is willing to accept the apology fully, the relationship can be restored. A timely, sincere apology can help the healing begin right away.
Most people need time to fully heal when someone hurts them, takes something from them or destroys their spirit or the things they loan out. But many blessings come to those who forgive freely and make it right with others.
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