Have you ever done something you regret? Or have a relationship you feel needs forgiveness?
Proverbs 17:9 “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Forgiving others is important, as is asking for forgiveness and forgiving yourself.
Asking for forgiveness can be difficult. It starts with taking accountability for your hurtful action. To ask for forgiveness, you need to truly feel remorseful.
Accept responsibility for your part in the conflict. Offer repentance. Tell the person you are sorry. Offer the apology when your apology is heartfelt and honest.
Offer restitution. Try some type of an act of kindness that will restore the relationship. Allow your heart to lead. It could be monetary, words of remorse, a hug, a letter, a card, or replacement of goods. Your restitution needs to be meaningful to you as well as the offended.
Listen to the one whom you have hurt. Listen with open ears and an open heart. Acknowledge their feelings, allow them time to speak or to be silent. Listen to the feelings, feel their emotional scars.
Be ready for forgiveness to be granted, or denied. Just because you ask for forgiveness does not mean the person you have offended is ready to forgive. If your apology is sincere, you have taken accountability, offered restitution, and accepted the feedback from the one whom you have hurt, you have done your part in asking for their forgiveness.
Work on forgiving yourself of your transgressions. Heal your own heart by moving forward with changed behavior, an attitude of giving, and humility. Do not repeat the offense in which you have repented.
Spend time praying for God's forgiveness of your sin. In the book of Acts, Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (2:38)
Do your part in forgiving, and asking for forgiveness, then leave the rest to God. He never fails.
Linda Yearout is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist at Hope's Place.