Years ago I offended my friend Elizabeth. In truth, I betrayed her confidence. She was so hurt by my action that our friendship ended. I pushed the guilt to the back of my mind. It would not be a problem avoiding her since we attended different churches. I would live my Christian life and not think about her again.
One day I saw Elizabeth at a social function. We greeted one another politely and went our separate ways. But deep inside I was hurting. God was speaking to my conscience and I knew it was my responsibility to make things right—I had ignored her for too long.
I wrote a note of apology and asked her forgiveness. I bought a blooming floral plant and went to her house. It was not easy! The mental anguish as I approached her front door was immense. What relief to discover nobody at home! I left the flowers and the note by the door and left.
Two hours later she called. She said the note brought tears to her eyes, she had forgotten the incident and it was “water under the bridge!”
What joy to my heart! Our friendship years later has been re-established in a deeper and richer way. God is so good! Why did I wait so long? How foolish for me to think the problem would disappear if I ignored it.
When our children were small and they would get into a squabble, I would do two things. 1. Require the one who caused the hurt to apologize and also to ask forgiveness. 2. The injured party was required to forgive. They would hug and it was over.
I believe asking forgiveness is difficult for most people. So I have since written some “forgiveness form letters” to make it easier.
Of course, the best method is to meet face-to-face. Second best is a phone call. Yet for many, those meetings are too overwhelming and unpredictable to initiate.
I’ll post the forgiveness letters next time!
- How about you? Do you find it difficult to ask forgiveness? Or does it come easily?
- If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 _____________