Be Sure You Didn’t Hinder Your Forgiveness
In the last episode of BrojidStepUp, I started the series,Handling Unforgiving People, by explaining what it really means to forgive. Today, I want to delve into the matter of properly by helping you see how people hinder the forgiveness they seek so that you are sure not to be hindrance the forgiveness you seek.
You see, the person you offended is a human being and it may not be very easy to forgive due to either his personality or the pain of the hurt. That’s why you have to be sure that while you seek forgiveness, you don’t make it hard for the offended to forgive.
True Forgiveness is not Mechanical
True forgiveness is not a mechanical activity; it’s more emotional than the mechanical work of verbalizing “I am sorry” and it’s influenced by a combination of actions. That’s why I know that you can hinder or hasten the forgiveness you expect. I understand that it’s the sole responsibility of the offended to forgive; however, I also know that you can give him sufficient reasons to make forgiving you easy or hard.
Wisdom in securing forgiveness from the offended is ensuring that you don’t make him or her find it difficult to forgive you and that you identify actions that will make securing unreserved forgiveness possible. If the unforgiving person acquired refused to forgive you because of your wrong ways, then the starting point of handling him is repairing the damage you may have done by initiating a chain of actions that will eventually lead to his change of heart.
Communicate Your Remorse to Make Forgiveness Easier
I have found that one of the reasons some people find it hard to forgive is that the offender is either not remorseful or fails to communicate his remorse clearly. I understand that remorse doesn’t undo an offence; however, it gets the offended to see that you are not proud of your action and that you really regret it. That naturally makes forgiving you a lot easier.
You communicate your remorse in your words, attitude and actions and it will naturally flow out if you are really sorry for your offence. It’s not supposed to be taught; that’s why I don’t think it’s necessary to tell you how to show remorse.But you need to know thateven if you have explanation for your offence; don’t hang on it, otherwise you will not be able to attain the state of heart that will truly say sorry.
In fact, the moment you have rational reasons for offending another person or why the person shouldn’t feel offended for such a “trivial thing”, you cannot possibly be remorseful let alone apologise sincerely unless you have gained proficiency in pretense and deception!
Your lack of remorse will manifest in difficulty to apologize, use of wrong words or even exacerbation of your offence while trying to put up an apology. The consequenceis that you make it hard to secure forgiveness from the person you offended.
Apologize to Alleviate the Pain of Your Offence*
Please understand that apologies do not cancel the effect of your offence or undo it. It reduces the emotional pain inflicted on the offended. That’s why your failure to apologise is not just a bad attitude; but a way of making forgiveness harder for the offended.
Like I pointed out earlier, my forgiveness to people is not hinged on their apologies. It’s simply founded on the teaching and lifestyle of the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive those that offend me. In fact, He doesn’t just want me to forgive them; but instructs me to pray for (not against) them. Please don’t get the impression that I don’t expect people to apologise for their failures. Although I will still forgive you, your prompt and sincere apology makes it a lot easier and faster for me to forgive you.
Now, there are people who require your apologies to forgive you. To people like that, please don’t deny them the apologies or make forgiving you hard for them. If they want you to prostrate flat for them, please do it.
Please when you find that you offend people or that they picked offence for what you regard as trivial or simple, please apologise for the sake of peace. In my relationship with people that matter to me or even total stranger I meet in a public transport, ATM stand or street, I have found that it’s safer to apologize than to insist on your right to rationalize your offence. Don’t think it’s weakness; it’s actually maturity to apologise even when you are clearly not at fault! Even if the other person knows he is responsible or partly culpable for the offence, he will leave with a good memory of you. In fact, that’s a very strategic way of teaching him the higher way of living.
Don’t Hinder Forgiveness with Unrepentance
Another truth I want you to bear in mind is that being unrepentant from your offence hinders your forgiveness. Apologising for your offence is way beyond verbalizing ‘I am sorry’. Anybody that has some element of decency will do that, even if it’s for pretense sake. The real and potent apologies you can make is to repent from your offensive ways. You see, if you apologise for an offence; yet repeat it consistently, you imply that you are either not really sorry, can’t help but offend people or you don’t care about your relationship!
This is why I encourage that you go beyond words of apologies and changeyour lifestyle. The person you see as unforgiving may not really be; it’s just that you make it hard for him by refusal to turn a new leaf.
Please understand that forgiveness is not just mere expression of “I forgive you.” It’s actually an expression of trust that you won’t repeat your offence. Please don’t make the offended look like a fool and gullible for forgiving you! Give him all the reasons to know that he took the right step by forgiving you.
Please identify the offence you committed and find ways of avoiding a repeat of it. Our action and lifestyle reflection of our mindset; therefore, work on the mindset that produced your fault. The friends we keep influence our actions and lifestyles; therefore, leave friends that encouraged your wrong doing. The environment we find ourselves makes it easy or difficult for us to do certain things; therefore, avoid environments that make a repeat of those faults of yours possible.
It’s good and in fact very important that you pursue peace with all men and that’s why when you offend people, you should seek forgiveness from them. But know that you can by your actions and inactions make forgiveness hard or easy to them. That’s why you should really be remorseful for your offence; then take a step further to apologize and finally, repent from your offensive act to secure total forgiveness.
*You can learn more about apologizing to reduce the pain of the offence HERE