Understand the Limits of Your Apologies
In the post, Talk to the Unforgiving to Secure Forgiveness, I pointed out practical things you should do to secure forgiveness from the person you offended. However, it’s not in all the cases that such talks materialize into forgiveness and that’s why I want to show you the limits of your apologies so that you don’t think yourself a failure when it looks like you did not obtain forgiveness from the person. In this situation, some people get frustrated by such experience and maybe wonder whether they acted right to have bothered with pursuing peace. That’s why I want to help you understand what may have possibly happened.
Apologizing doesn’t make you a Fool
One of the things that may happen to you when you apologize yet your apologies get rejected is to think of yourself as a fool. But you are not!
At every point in our lives, we should seek to know the right thing to do and go out to do it. For most people, is not knowing what to do but actually stepping out to do it. Now, you know that apologies should be tendered and went beyond the knowledge to implementing it. That makes you a wise and strong man; not a fool!
I’d like you to always bear in mind that it’s not all the time you do the right thing that you get positive result; yet that’s not an excuse for reneging on doing the right thing all the time. I mean, I won’t stop loving my wife because she has refused to reciprocate with respect. In the same vein, I wouldn’t start disobeying the law of the land because the leaders are not taking good care of the citizens or even because I am not rewarded for so doing.
We do the right thing all the time simply because they are right, not because of what we gain from so doing. A reason for this is that the right things are always right and if they are in keeping with the precepts of God, He will be pleased with us. This matters to me because more important than any other thing for me is that God will look at me and say, “This is my beloved Brojid, in whom I’m well pleased.”
So, don’t think yourself a fool just because you apologized and your apologies were rejected. Nwanne, you did well and have taken a wise and mature step. Well done!
Don’t Forget Your Expectations
It’s important that in whatever thing you are involved in or want to embark on, you know exactly what is expected of you and stick to it. You are not God who has supreme power; even God with His supremacy can be limited by human beings in some ways.
It’s recorded in the scriptures that the people of Israel tempted God and limited the holy One of Israel. God has the willingness and power to take the Israelites into Canaan and He made His power available to them but He can’t drag them into the place because the people have their own role to play.
When you apologise or pursue peace with people, understand that peace is not 100% your responsibility. You have a role to play and so does the other person. Your focus is to ensure you exhaust all that is within your power to do and after that, you go and sleep. Your duty is to apologize and ensure you don’t hinder the forgiveness you seek, it takes the other person to accept your apologies and forgive you.
Don’t think yourself a failure at establishing peace because despite all the efforts you made to ensure you secure forgiveness and have a more productive relationship, you didn’t succeed. Once you have done all that is within your power to pursue peace with people, you have succeeded. The process may not have succeeded; but you have succeeded.
To forgive is to the offended
The person you offended or seek peace with him has to decide whether to forgive you or not. It’s a choice he will make after some considerations. You can influence his decision as much as possible; that’s why you should apologise; but that’s the much you can do. He has to decide whether to forgive or not. Allow him do that and prepare your mind to follow whatever be the outcome of his decision. Your duty as the offender is to apologize; to forgive is to the offended.
When you offend people or seek to maintain peaceful relationship with people; understand that you have a duty to do all that is within your power to achieve that. But please don’t forget that the decision to forgive is not yours to make; the other party does. In fact, to apologize is yours to do as the offender; to forgive is to the offended. Therefore, don’t think yourself a failure if a relationship crashed despite your apologies. It’s the relationship that failed; not you!