Monday, May 11, 2009

How to say "Sorry," and mean it

"I'm sorry." Two very simple words that require no pride to utter successfully. Asking for forgiveness is about as difficult as granting forgiveness.

I wish I could be blameless, but I am not. I, like almost everyone, have hurt people that I care deeply for, have said things that were monumentally insensitive, stupid, occasionally mean, and have acted in ways that left pain and hurt in my wake. I have tried to get attention at others' expense and I end up feeling pretty lousy about myself. I wish their was a human 'reset' button that we could push and have a do-over. I wish I could blame others, my ADHD, my upbringing, painful life experiences, solar flares, or global warming but I can't. I have to take responsibility for my mistakes and admit that I have willfully hurt others. I am truly sorry for my actions. Ever been there yourself?

I have talked to so many people in the same boat. They feel stuck in a relationship because of something they said or did. Now, the cat is out of the is much easier to let the cat out of the bag than it is to get back it into the bag. Shame and guilt have caused many a good man or woman to stew in their own juices because they feel really bad about what happened...and can't move on. One must swallow their pride to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Saying, "I'm sorry" is a spiritual discipline.

Here are five things to do to say "I'm sorry" and mean it:

1. Ask God to give you a full understanding of the wrong you have done. "Jesus is Lord. Father show me how I have wronged xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. In your infinite mercy, help me to feel the true impact of my wrongs."

2. Make a list of your sin. Whether by accident or if it was intentional, make a full accounting of your wrongs. Write it down. Take full responsibility of your feelings, actions, and consequences. Pray for the person you hurt. "Father, comfort them. Heal the pain that I have caused and allow them to move beyond what I did."

3. If possible, talk to the person. Take responsibility for all your actions. Allow your emotions to show.

4. Ask for forgiveness. God says to ask. Leave it at that. Let the person you hurt think about it and do what they want. Let the healing work of God surround them. It takes time to work through the process. Just do your part. Continue to pray for them.

5. Forgive yourself. Move on yourself. If possible and appropriate, offer restitution. Resolve to do things differently. Ask for forgiveness for yourself of God.

To err is human. To humble yourself and work through is of God.

What are your experiences with, "I'm sorry?"

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