It takes a humble heart to admit that you were wrong about something. It is easier to find a way to justify your words or actions than to eat one’s humble pie. This is so engrained in our human nature that you even see it in a baby’s behavior. ‘Sorry’ is one of the toughest words to teach a toddler. She will rather cry than apologize for a mischief done.
We don’t like to confess because it is an uncomfortable thing to do. Admitting that you were wrong is accepting your vulnerabilities and not everyone has the heart for it. Although the Bible encourages us to confess our sins to one another, most Christians shy away from it. We are afraid that our fellow believers would judge us (because secretly, we’ve been judging others from what we hear they have done). We are all flawed human beings but for Christians, we have been saved by grace.
Perhaps this difficulty stems from the fact that most people don’t know how to handle confessions very well. While they put on their best ‘understanding and sympathetic’ face listening to you pouring your heart out, they are impatiently tapping their feet and their fingernails on the table, and all that is re-echoing in their heads is, ‘I can’t wait to tell X about this!’ As ambassadors of Christ, we should strive to receive confessions and offer forgiveness the God way.
First of all, let’s assure the person who is confiding in us that their confessions ends with us. Let’s be quiet and listen prayerfully; not running commentary on their story. No matter how much you empathize, don’t tell the story for him/her. Remember you are receiving the confession under the Cross on which Christ died to take away our sins. It is the Cross that gives life to every confession made.
God not only forgives our confessed sins, He also remembers them no more. Forgetting is not easy for us to do. It’s no fault of ours; it’s an act of God and it’s only by His grace that we can truly forgive people and forget. Most of the time, we forgive alright but the memory stays. The moment you set eyes on the person, it all comes rushing back and the resentment starts boiling inside you. May God give us the grace to free ourselves from grudges and resentments against those who have offended us.
The fact that you haven’t forgotten doesn’t necessarily mean that you haven’t forgiven. Don’t feel guilty if memories keep popping up. The best you can do is not deliberately recall and ponder over something hurtful done to you. You imprison yourself – freedom, peace of mind, happiness all the more. Show love by giving forgiveness. Love keeps no record of wrongs, remember?
I know it’s hard not to recount the several times one has repeated a particular offence and it is humanly justifiable to withhold forgiveness on that basis. However, for any relationship to work, treat each offense on its own merit without any past references. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the red flags as if they don’t exist but genuinely forgive and let go.
Is there someone asking for your forgiveness? Why don’t you be a darling and set him and yourself free? Do you have something you need to confess? Do it now.
© Josephine Amoako 2018