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Joy in the Journey

October 23, 2013

by Linda Beerman
Forgiveness. Making amends. Such an important step to take, but sometimes it seems impossible. It usually demands a lot from us. However, like most of the growing we do spiritually, we receive back more than we give.

We will not always be welcomed with open arms when we come to ask someone to forgive us, but our job is only to take the first step. We may not be rewarded with a restored relationship, but the peace that comes from saying "we are sorry...or that we blew it...or I harmed you", will be worth any pain we have to endure during this time. Our job is just to atone for our wrong doing, not to anticipate how others will respond. Making up for something we've done wrong or neglected on our part, will bring inner strength to us, even if the process has no effect on others.

Last week I found myself in this position. I had completely forgotten about something I was supposed to take care of. My fault, absolutely. It caused worry and stress on another person, which snowballed into involving others in the process. I felt terrible about it when it was brought to my attention. I could not reverse what had happened, but I certainly could go to the source of the hurt and ask for forgiveness for my neglect in the matter. Which I did. I also wrote a note to again show how sorry I was. Fortunately for me, I was met with understanding. They did not tell me it was O.K.....and they shouldn't, because it wasn't. They expressed their concern in the situation, and how it had caused fear and anxiety. I totally understood that, as I would have felt the same way.

Most of us have learned about asking for pardon from our parents, church, or even in school. It has its roots in the Bible, where we know we are powerless, but God is powerful to grant the mercy and reprieve that we need to move forward after causing hurt to someone else. Some of the verses that come to mind actually start in the Old Testament. Some examples are:

Leviticus 5:5 " When any one is guilty....he must confess in what way he has sinned..."

II Chronicles 7:14 " if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

And from the New Testament:

Luke 6:31 " Do unto others as you would have them do to you."

Acts 8: 22-23 " Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

God is a God of second chances. What a humbling lesson for us. Asking for forgiveness....or granting it to someone who has wronged us. Recycling our failures, using them for good, what a great idea! Those failures often times are some of our greatest teachers. Offering others and ourselves a way out, to begin again; A second chance from someone is such a gift.

Being angry with someone over an act that has occurred, having malice in an unforgiven and bitter heart, and just plain being stubborn about either repenting or granting forgiveness, will just fester and cause worse problems in the future. Oh, that we would strive to be peacemakers in any situation which is humanly possible.

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