Please Forgive Me
Posted April 26, 2022 by Maureen Metcalf
Categories: Featured, Maureen, Sister Post
Three difficult words…please forgive me. Whether you are asking for forgiveness or the one working to forgive, even forgiving yourself. None of it feels easy.
I recall as a child lining up with three of my sisters so our parents could solve mysteries, such as who lied, who stole the Hubba Bubba, or who ate the homemade chocolate cake. I would put on extra pairs of pajamas in the event I was the culprit that needed to take ownership, knowing a paddling would follow. All that sounds humorous now, but what stuck with me was the dialogue that followed and asking for forgiveness.
Little did I know how hard it might be as an adult to ask for forgiveness and to offer forgiveness. The words, “please forgive me” does not roll off my tongue as easily as it seemed when I was young, and it made me wonder why.
As I pondered, I came to the realization that the hesitancy may be due to pride, feeling justified, or thinking I am right, but none of those things really gave me peace. Nor do they build meaningful relationships. When I think of the poor choices I have made, I am reminded that I sure hope people do not remember me by every mistake, but instead what I have done to overcome, atone, and correct my path.
What a horrid life to be labeled only by the poor choices we have made without the ability to ask and receive forgiveness. True forgiveness, the kind that allows yourself and others to move forward. When we withhold forgiveness, it may become an unresolved bitterness holding us back from peace. The pain of not forgiving is not to the detriment of the other person but to ourselves.
We Are Not Perfect
I am not perfect, nor will I ever be, and neither are you. When I feel wronged, hurt, or deceived, I may lose trust and must establish boundaries. Relationships could look different but whatever the circumstance, it does not elevate me to a better person or to hold the power to condemn.
Forgiving those we feel wronged by is not giving permission for wrongdoing; it is letting go of the ability for the injustice to have a stronghold in my life.
We Are Not Judge
I can have healthy boundaries. I can acknowledge my pain. I can confront injustice and wrongdoing, but that still does not make me the righteous person or the better person. You and I are not the judge or jury to discern which sin is greater than another. Sure, we all know what feels worse, but then I am reminded of the scripture Matthew 27:38 of the two thieves on either side of Jesus on the cross and the simplicity of one asking forgiveness and the other unrepentant, mocking Jesus. There is a clear reminder in that story for all of us.
If there was no grace, no mercy, no forgiveness, then what is the point of Christ continually reminding us to offer them? Have we become so consumed by others’ mistakes that we are blinded by what needs changed within us? How long has it been since you asked for forgiveness or openly gave it? What holds you back?
Examples of areas we may need to ask forgiveness for. Please forgive me for the times I am selfish. Forgive me for the times I am not listening well. Forgive me when I want to be right. Forgive me when I judged you in a righteous manner. Forgive me if I have hurt or harmed you intentionally or not. My list could go on and on. Now add your own list.
We Are Not Victims
I must not be the victim. You must not be the victim. If you have been hurt, treated unfairly or unjustly, then you are reminded we live in a fallen world and that is why we seek hope, love, patience, and forgiveness from our faith. Peace is found in the restoration of our hearts. Peace is offered when we offer forgiveness expecting nothing in return. What is in my control is to pray for those that walk in a path of injustice or wrongdoing or have not opened their eyes to the error of their ways.
The Work of Forgiveness
I choose to seek mercy and forgiveness over bitterness and hatred. The latter will pull me into the pit of despair where all I can see is the negative, versus gratefulness for all that is good. When we focus inwardly on our own spiritual condition, that is the challenging and often painful work.
I am with you. I understand it is a process and a journey that we can walk through together. My hope today is that you uncover one thing that you have been harboring, hanging onto, justifying your angry thoughts repeatedly — and pray to release those feelings.
And while we are making confessions, Mom and Dad, I took the Hubba Bubba. Please forgive me. Is there something you have been holding onto? Someone you may be ready to let go of?
You and I, let us work to make asking and offering forgiveness more of the norm versus the exception. I believe in time we will be filled with more peace as we extend grace and mercy to others…and do not forget…to extend that same grace and mercy to YOU!