The Importance of Asking for Forgiveness
Truer words have never been spoken.
One might say that, at first, I didn't even know that I needed to ask for forgiveness, but it became more evident that this was the one thing I was missing the entire time.
I'll pay him back!
Proverbs 24:29 Don’t say, “I’ll do to him like he did to me, I’ll be sure to pay him back for what he did.”
Adrenaline is a gift when used correctly.
Adrenaline was a major player contributing to the temporary amnesia of the event which occurred later that night. As a natural defense mechanism for our mental health, our brains will often forget why we acted out in hot anger in the middle of such an intense moment.
We will forget the things we say, and we will forget the things we do, because the human brain will not file such negative and harmful emotions into long-term memory until after it has had a chance to calm itself, and you, down. That is why it can be difficult to remember negative events in our timeline even after the memory has been fully stored into long-term files.
The brain is such an amazing tool, and one of the gifts that we have been given, is adrenaline. Adrenaline can be very helpful in the midst of the battles of life, but when misused, adrenaline can actually be more harmful to the user, than to the person on the receiving end -- this can result in very, very, very harmful words that you cannot take back.
Adrenaline, when used the right way, looks like the very difficult decision to walk away peacefully and then getting rid of the adrenaline some other way rather than fighting and saying things that you will regret later on. When the adrenaline set in, I chose to stay and fight, and I said nasty things that I did regret. Had I walked away peacefully and got rid of the adrenaline some other way, I would have spared myself a month of hurt and sorrow.
That, my friends, is where you should get this... Walking away peacefully and getting rid of the adrenaline, though difficult, is far easier than fighting a battle you don't need to fight. It will save you so much time and pain!
Jeremiah 22:3 (NIV) “This is what the LORD says: 'Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
Ephesians 4:30-31 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, quarreling, and slander be put away from you, along with all hatred.
James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
Why should I walk away when the adrenaline is pumping?! The things he said really made me mad!
When we choose compassion instead of anger, we are actually rewiring our brains to be more compassionate people. That leads to a life of less stress and more ability to love and show compassion. Stress associated with offenses is unnecessary stress, just like most stressors are unnecessary. How we react to stress will either prolong our lives or shorten our lives.
The more often we practice our response to stress, the better off we will be, and the healthier we will be. When the moments are right to use adrenaline, we will know, but we should never use it when we don't have to.
It felt so good at the time.
I didn't know I needed to ask for forgiveness. Most of the time, people reach this stage before the realization hits.
I didn't know I needed to ask for forgiveness. Most of the time, people will reach this stage before realization hits. It felt so good at the time! I really gave him a piece of my mind. I reasoned with myself and justified my response as acceptable. Many people will do this as a way to comfort themselves in a reflective thought process.
The self-comfort talk.
I had already been dealing with stuff in my personal life away from work. I didn't need him telling me how to do my job. I already know how to do my job. I had every right to react the way I did.
Later that night, I didn't even remember the situation. I remember that I got mad beyond recognition, and I remember that I reacted to adrenaline the absolute wrong way. I hadn't yet remembered what I said. I didn't even remember why I was so mad. Then, the guilt would come. I felt guilty for getting so mad. I felt guilty for getting mad in the first place. So what if he said those things to me? I felt guilt, and that guilt was what started me on a rapid decline unlike any I'd ever experienced before.
Gut-wrenching, ugly guilt!
I felt guilt, and that guilt was what started me on a rapid decline unlike any I'd ever experienced before.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Harboring my offenses and not forgiving others is bad in itself, but denying the fact that I was the one that needed to ask for forgiveness... that's terrible beyond belief. I didn't know that I needed to ask for forgiveness. In my self-comfort talk, I'd dangerously convinced myself that I didn't do anything wrong and in the process, I became the prisoner and freed my oppressor. In the end, he didn't do anything wrong at all. I was the one in the wrong. I wasn't even oppressed! I just overreacted! I was in grave danger if I never asked my friend for forgiveness... and I didn't even realize it.
Throughout the days and weeks that followed, my guilt had completely flipped my life upside down and seemingly went away. It did not leave, though. It took on a form of grave fatigue at work before, during, and after the work day no matter what I did to try and treat the pain and tiredness. Combined with the Covid-19 events around the world last year and this year, loneliness and depression was at an all-time high for me. I even walked away from God. He knew I would walk away, too. He's a big God, and His grace is sufficient for me. He's an awesome God. He loves me. At the writing of this article, I am back with God.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
When you're down at your worst, God will pick you up and dust you off, and He will lovingly tell you that you're not doing well and that you need to straighten up.
When it's time to come back to God, you may be, like I was, in bed in the dark and drifting off to sleep, and He will simply say, "It's time, Jeremy. Come back to me now." In the most amazing way, He is also saying that He understands the struggle I'm going through, and He loves me.
I prayed to Him and asked him for forgiveness, but little did I know my spirit man was asking for help in asking my friend for forgiveness as the next step.
It was earlier tonight. As of the writing of this article, I recall asking my friend for forgiveness, simply, when I was washing my hands in the bathroom and he walked in. I addressed him respectfully, and I looked him in the eyes, and I said, "I just want you to know that I'm truly sorry. Can you forgive me?"
This is what happened.
He took a step back and revealed a look of accepting of the situation unfolding before him. He then explained where I had wronged him. He explained that how I reacted was wrong. He explained that I'd got him in trouble with the assistant manager. He fully explained why he was upset.
And then he said, "I forgive you, brother," and he extended his hand and we shook on it.
Why am I explaining his reaction to you?
He had. Every. Right. To not forgive me. He did not have to forgive me, but he did. I have felt so much better and lighter since that time tonight.
He didn't need to be freed, because he wasn't in chains. I was in chains, and I needed to be freed from the chains, because I was the one in the wrong.
What he gave me tonight was the gift of forgiveness, and I didn't even know I needed it. What a gift forgiveness is! My friend freed me from the chains that I put myself into. I will always be thankful for my friend's forgiveness of my wrong against him.
Wow! How do I even end this the right way? I'll just speak from the heart and let the keystrokes happen.
- I had wronged my friend because I acted out in anger when I didn't need to.
- In my anger, I had amnesia and didn't even know I needed forgiveness until the memory came back.
- I justified myself in my self-comfort talk.
- The guilt settled in. Guilt from wronging someone and being prideful about it can send you in a spiral of depression, loneliness, and grave fatigue. This can put you in a place where you will walk away from God. Pride comes before a fall. My pride came, and I fell. Hard.
- I came to the realization that I had wronged my friend, and that I needed to ask for forgiveness.
- Before I came to that realization, I had to come to the realization that I wronged God, and I needed to ask Him for forgiveness.
- I asked God for forgiveness in the stillness of my bedroom at night. It was time to come back to Him.
- My spirit man was praying and asking for help to ask for forgiveness from my friend.
- I asked my friend for forgiveness, and he forgave me when he didn't have to. My friend freed me from the final chains of pride that were still holding me down.
- I was freed from my chains tonight because I finally put away my pride and asked for forgiveness. It is safe to say that it is time to close this chapter of my life, continue my good friendship with him, take the lessons with me, and begin the next chapter.
What did I learn?
I learned that I need to know when I've wronged someone, and that I need to put away my pride and ask for forgiveness. I learned that pride can cause me to go down a spiral that I don't want to go down again. Guilt can add to feelings of fatigue, sadness, loneliness, and depression. I learned that I need to let go of my pride. I learned that I need to listen to that still voice in my head more often. I learned that I serve a very big God who understands everything that I go through. I learned that when I don't ask for forgiveness from someone I've wronged, a lot of bad things can happen. It's important to ask for forgiveness. As mentioned in a Matthew West song, "...the prisoner that it really frees is you."
I learned that when God says it's time to come back to him, you don't waste time. Forgiving others is one thing, but asking for forgiveness... that's so important. So important.
Finally, I learned from Ephesians 4:32.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
That, my friends, is something that we can all do.
Copyright 2020 Jeremy Daryl
Speaking engagements and usage permission.