Forgiveness Takes Time, Sometimes A Long Time
Forgiviing is truly a key for living!
Who, or what, might you be better off forgiving today?
How many different ways can we offend someone? Obviously by something we do or say, and often by simply being misunderstood.
Bad behaviors are something we are supposed to outgrow in childhood, but some folks seem to have a knack for childishness, childishness that persists into a young "old age." That is a purposefully chosen phrase, because most folks who are like that seem to live shorter lives.
Sometimes the thing which is hardest to forgive is failing to meet someone else's expectations.
There are social mores to run afoul of, sinful acts just waiting to be committed, and a whole variety of stumbles and insults mortal man and woman are capable of. Some seem "unforgivable" no matter what urgings we have all been given to "learn to forgive and forget."
The repentance and change:
No matter how much we may desire someone's forgiveness, we have limited control over the process.
Certainly we should repent, make restitution where appropriate, and do everything we can to earn their forgiveness. But, having done all that we can, the rest is up to the forgiver.
In all likelihood they have been taught to not judge, and to be quick to forgive. Some people have succeeded in mastering those personal qualities; others have not, and they will forgive more slowly, even obstinately hanging onto a perceived insult, or other offense until it becomes an albatross around their own necks.*
Doing what one can to make amends and make things right, is all the perceived offender can do, and then it is time to move on with life and know that a higher judge knows what we have done in attempting to make things right.
As the saying goes, "We have all fallen short of the glory of God." Being mortal, we make mistakes. Some people are more easily offended than others with thicker skins.
On the other hand, if we find ourselves continuing to offend others by our words and/or our actions, those problems are ours to work on and overcome. The very best friendship is one in which we can receive and accept criticism, and offer it when it is appropriate.
Being content in our own skin is the goal of any serious, sensitive individual.
Mastering our own faults may well be the most worthwhile goal to achieve in mortality. They are the only faults we have any control over, and gaining control over them can typically be a lifelong process.
The first key is to want to gain control over our faults and weaknesses. The second key is to apply ourselves in a conscious effort to achieve that control while learning to apologize and make restitution when it is appropriate.
Some things cannot be totally undone, a valid reason for the saying that "we should turn our tongue ten times before we speak." Sometimes remaining silent is the better course. Gossip and back-biting are not the hallmarks of a mature individual. The ability to quickly apologize sincerely and attempt to "make things right" is a good sign that we are making progress in the right direction.
The flip side? Don't carry around the burdens of failing to forgive others. That dead albatross is a burden we need to be rid of as soon as possible. If we expect to be forgiven of our own faults and blunders, others have the same right and expectation, and it isn't up to us to judge who is worthy of our forgiveness. We need to be mature enough to know that forgiving others is our own responsibility.
Copyright 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.