Talk to the Unforgiving to Secure Forgiveness
On the last episode of BrojidStepUp, I encouraged you to pursue peace with even the unforgiving person because it’s noble and pleasing in God’s sight. My emphasis then was helping you see why you should put in your best to work towards peace with the peace-hating fellow. Today, I want to go a step further by showing you practical things you can do to effectively pursue peace with the unforgiving person.
Don’t Live in Silence
One of the practical things you can do in pursuit of peace with the unforgiving is to walk up to him and talk. Talking becomes very important when your relationship with the person matters to you very much and you don’t want to lose it. Don’t live in silence wishing that things change or wondering what the fellow is really up to; take a step and talk to the person.
Stepping out to talk beyond the apologies you have profusely rendered is not because you depend on the fellow to live; it’s your own way of communicating how much you care about the person and the relationships you share and that you don’t want to lose it for anything whatsoever.
In fact, if the person in question is your parent, spouse or child, I encourage you to take the noble step of talking to the person about how their unforgiving stance makes you feel. Why I have to specifically point out these set of people is because they are people who, in my opinion, you can’t just break your relationship with them recklessly. They matter in your live and your relationship with them should be sustained forever, even if it’s not perfect.
It’s possible to quit your friendship with your closest friend, lecturer, boss or boo; but these people other are essentially inseparable from you. I know some people don’t care about such relationship enough to fight to keep them; but that’s an aberration and should not be emulated. No matter how bad your parents are, they are still you parents and if you believe what I believe, you know that divorce is not an option for you. Once marriage happens; it’s only death that will break it. Therefore, wisdom demands that you don’t allow unforgiveness and conflict break such valuable relationships.
For people like that, they will, most times, be touched by your persistence to reconcile and have a hitch free relationship with them. Your effort at ensuring cordial relationship with them communicates to them that you care about them and you value your relationship with them.
Register Your Observation
I understand that it may not be very easy to walk up to them and talk; but I encourage you to do whatever it will take you to talk them. Talk to yourself; saturate your mind withthoughts of how much the relationship matters to you. When you finally do, please register your observation. You see, sometimes, unforgiving people may have verbally said, “I have forgiven you.” But their actions, words and attitude say the opposite.
That’s why you should walk up to them and tell them, “I know that you said you have accepted my apologies; but your attitude and response to me doesn’t suggest that you have truly forgiven me. It gives me concern because I want to have my wife (husband), father, child, etc. back.
In some cases, they may be trying to recover from the shock or hurt of your offence. Other times, they may actually be bearing grudges against you. The one that has truly forgiven you will put in every effort to explain that you have been forgiven and possibly tell you why you still notice some coldness. In fact, in many cases he may deliberately put effort to change his actions in a way that will ensure you have no doubt about their forgiveness.
However, the one that has not really forgiven you may not bother with all such explanations. He may just say, “Nothing o; I am just being me.” In that case, let him know that the new him is discomforting you. Persist as much as possible until you can’t do anything about the situation. I know that this is a lot of work; but why I take the pains to go through this is because when I have done all that I can and it fails; I forget the fellow and move on.
Educate Him on the Reality of Unforgiveness
Now, before you decide to leave the person, try and educate him on the implication of his refusal to forgive you. You see, sometimes, people do things without realizing the long term implication. Explain to him that the burden of unforgiveness is a time bomb that can be both catastrophic and destructive. My experience is that when you fail to forgive people, yet come in contact with them, you react to the pain of the previous hurt at the slightest provocation of offence.
If it’s your spouse, point the person to looming divorce that may happen when you people refuse to apologize and forgive each other. Help him see clearly the damage that will be done to the children if divorce ever happens. Why you should go to this extent is that he may know what is right to do but seem powerless to do it. Please strengthen him to do it and he will like you forever! He will brag that you sustained their relationship even when he thought it will crash.
Before you eventually leave the person, apologise again. I know it may be getting too much; but what you are doing by that is that you are obeying the scriptural injunction that says, “As long as it lies in your power, pursue peace with all men.” It is better to be found wise in God’s sight by obeying the scriptural injunction than to refuse to do all that is within your power and eventuallysuffer a broken relationship with the person.
One of the most practical things you can for in pursing peace with unforgiving people or anybody you come in contact with is to walk up to them and discuss the situation. Letting them know how much their unforgiveness bothers you can make them change their mind. Your persistence in maintaining cordial relationship with them communicates your commitment to the relationship and may lead them to change of mind. Don’t just wish and pray for total and sincere forgiveness; take another step and talk the person into seeing the need for total forgiveness and restored relationship.