The Power of Apology

Posted by Robin Schmidt on June 23rd, 2009

Have you ever been hurt? It is usually the people closest to us that hurt us.

Is it ever easy to ask someone’s forgiveness? Is it ever easy to say, I was wrong, I am sorry, please forgive me?

It may be even harder to grant forgiveness.

Growing up I can’t remember my father ever saying he was sorry. We talked about that many years ago. I shared a specific memory about an incident that took place when I was 14. It began with me hurting my dad and then him not speaking to me. I said I was sorry and he wouldn’t speak. What made an impression on a 14 year old, didn’t stay with a 30something. My father said he didn’t remember that event. But, he said, it sounded like him. Then he said,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry. Two words. Spoken decades after the event, yet I could feel the hurt melting away. I could FEEL it. And now when I remember that event, the sting is gone.

I think that is what we call redemption. And forgiveness is a part of it.

Forgiveness is so important. To seek it, to give it. However hard it might be, it is so very important.

I have done some reading about dementia. It has hit close to home and so I have tried to understand what is happening, what has robbed me of someone I love.

Dementia refers to many symptoms/diseases describing various malfunctioning of the brain. Someone affected by dementia may not be able to retrieve information, or memories. They may not be able to connect faces and names and people. Someone with dementia is lost within their own brain. But there is one part of the brain that dementia does not touch.

Dementia does not injure the part of the brain that stores our emotions. No matter what else we lose, we will be able to recall emotions.

Emotions like anger.

I told a friend the other day that I fear dementia. I don’t want to be trapped in my brain. I don’t want to be trapped in my negative emotions. I don’t want to store up a bunch of anger and then be trapped in it.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. Maybe I will suffer from Alzheimer’s. Maybe I will suffer from “hardening of the arteries”. Maybe I will remain as lucid as I am today. I can neither predict nor control what happens.

I can, however, choose to follow Jesus. I can choose to humble myself and ask forgiveness when I wrong someone.

And when I am hurt, I can choose to forgive. I can choose to let Jesus redeem my past, my mistakes, my emotions.

Forgiveness may be hard, seeking it, giving it. But living with unforgiveness looks a lot like hell.

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