When someone says, “I’m sorry” how do you respond?
Often, feeling uncomfortable, we may brush it aside with a swift, “It’s OK” and move on to easier conversation.
But was it really “OK”?
Was their contrition worthless? Were you not really hurt or upset? Did they not require your pardon?
In another post I wrote about the importance of saying “Sorry” to your spouse. A simple word, and yet one that can affect great change. It signifies a change of heart and an admission of guilt. It says, “I’ve been stupid; I want to make amends.” And yet, a “sorry” in and of itself is not the complete path to reconciliation. In the same way you want to be forgiven, you must also offer forgiveness.
Unforgiveness is a prison.
Forgiving your spouse opens the way for your relationship to be restored. It frees them to know that you are no longer separated by their offence. Just as importantly though, it frees you.
A quick search reveals much that has been written on the benefits of forgiveness and, conversely, the harm of harbouring unforgiveness, bitterness and animosity. It can affect your mental, emotional and physical health to surprising degrees.
Forgiveness is not always easy. Indeed, the greater the offence done to us the more determination it will take. However, it is just that; a decision to forgive.
It does not mean you will magically forget the wrongs done to you; you may still have the scars for years to come. It does not mean you condone, excuse or pardon them. It simply means that you will allow your wounds to heal, that you consign the wrongs to the past and not carry them in your heart each day.
Make a decision today that you will not withhold forgiveness from your spouse, whether things past, or for the dumb things they will yet do!
Further reading: In his excellent book The Power to Forgive, Reinhard Hirtler explores forgiveness, its importance and practical principles to help you forgive those who have wounded you. Click here to buy it on Amazon.co.uk.
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