(Continued from Forgiving and letting God take care of everything – Part 3 of 6)
If you’re still hurting and unable to transcend the pain, honor where you are. Give yourself as much time and space to heal and to forgive.
Sometimes the reason why we’re not able to forgive our offender is because of our inability to forgive ourselves for having allowed them to offend us. Especially if the offense was repeatedly done. How could I be so stupid? What was I thinking? Was I even thinking?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Blaming yourself will not help.
But in order to go through the complete process of healing and forgiveness, you need to acknowledge these feelings and release them. That is what will help pave the way for your forgiveness and enlightenment, as well as that of the offender’s.
As you take steps and pray for your own healing and forgiveness, you can also pray for your offender’s realization.
Yet whether they realize their offense or not, whether they admit their wrongdoing or not, and whether or not they exert an effort to make amends — you still work through your process of forgiveness — on your own, and for your sake.
Whether or not the person has extended an apology, or whether or not they show any form of remorse, the act of forgiving can still be done. Voluntarily. And this is for the peace of mind of the offended party. No one else’s.
I will forgive only after they apologize
Making amends is the other side of forgiveness. One can take place without the other. You can forgive even if the offender has not apologized or asked for forgiveness. Waiting for an apology only blocks the ability to forgive.
You can also make amends whether or not the person you offended is willing or able to forgive your wrongdoing, or whether or not they want to accept your apology or effort to make amends.
“Making amends may seem like a bitter pill to swallow, but for those serious about recovery it can be great medicine for the spirit and soul.” – Step 9 Forgiveness, The Twelve Steps
When we make amends, we acknowledge that we’ve done something that offended another. We’ve crossed a line. As a result, they felt betrayed or angered by what we did or said.
Two words that are very powerful and can be profoundly healing — if uttered from the depths of the soul and deepest recesses of the heart.
Asking for an apology is the first step. Before we can even begin to take steps towards making amends, or reconciliation (if and when possible), we need to first acknowledge our wrongdoing and sincerely apologize for our misdeed.
Admit the wrongdoing without explaining yourself. There are always reasons (causes or triggers) why we do things which we regret later on. The reason for our (mis)behavior doesn’t matter. And no reason can justify an inappropriate behavior nor does it make it acceptable.
When you’re apologizing and you give an excuse for what you did, even if the reason is legitimate, it gives the message that you’re not sincere with your apology. That perhaps you’re doing it only out of guilt or obligation. It’s expected. It’s what is called by the situation, rather than because you really are just truly sorry for what you did.
When you regret what you did and you truly want to make up for what you did wrong, this brings you to the next and more important step after apologizing — making amends.
Damage control. This is why you want to make amends — you have the desire or intention to restore the relationship and work towards rebuilding the trust that was broken.
However, if the offended party has no desire to restore the relationship, then you need to respect their choice. The person you offended also may or may not accept your offer of apology or making amends. That doesn’t matter.
Humble yourself, apologize, ask for forgiveness, and make amends.
Today: I will be open to let my heart speak through words, actions, thoughts or prayers. I will offer a sincere apology to someone I may have hurt.
To be continued
64 Ways in 64 Days Nonviolence Daily Reflections Day 30 – Feb. 28, 2012
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