Asking for forgiveness can be very difficult.
“What if the person I hurt is still very angry with me?”
“What if they won’t forgive me?”
“What if I can’t fix this?”
When we really care about a relationship, we go out on a limb to seek forgiveness and when we have been hurt, we also go out on a limb to accept that forgiveness. Welcoming someone’s forgiveness can be just as difficult as seeking forgiveness. If we believe that the person hurt us intentionally (whether they did or not) it is our belief that can get in the way of our acceptance. Lack of trust can form a wall that separates us.
We all can be petty at times, especially when we are wounded. We can become stubbornly bound in un-forgiveness, lauding our “power” over those who hurt us. What good does this accomplish?
Sometimes others do hurt us intentionally. Yet sometimes the hurt is unintentional and we are part of the fallout of misguided or poorly calculated actions. Regardless of the why, when, whether and how they hurt us or even whether the hurting was intentional or not, a decision to reach out, to seek forgiveness and repair the hurt is a loving step in the right direction.
The best welcome we can give is to set any of our misgivings or lack of trust aside, and to honor their approach with an open heart, a listening ear and a verbal affirmation and acceptance of their request for forgiveness. Despite our hurts, we must go out on that limb to accept the other person, welcoming them with open arms (and maybe even a big hug).