Seeking Forgiveness and Being Forgiving Are a Challenge For Me

Posted: June 5, 2015 in Personal Story
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What does it mean to ask for forgiveness or to seek forgiveness?  How do we do this most difficult of tasks?  Some of us avoid it all together.  Others will only accept an apology if give in the exact way they feel is correct. I am aware that is a very broad topic and has many aspects to it.  In this post i will only cover a very limited part of this topic.  Mostly in how it relates to me and my current situation.

I have a very hard time with forgiveness.  Whether it be seeking or offering it.  I am slow to forgive people in my life.  I don’t feel and need to offer an apology for my actions.  This has caused me some problems in my life, as you could except.

On Wednesday evening after the children went to bed my wife wanted to do some painting of the house.  She has been working on it for several weeks at this point.  She is almost got the whole downstairs done.   We have a twenty-foot ceiling in our entry way.  As she was going into the garage to get a ladder a friend let us borrow the door stuck.  It does this from time to time.  I was walking up to help her get the ladder as it was very large.  I come to the door to find her turning the lock and then trying the handle over and over.

I feel frustrated as this is a problem I deal with often with this door and it drives me crazy.  I think she is about to get mad at me so in my frustration I push her hand out-of-the-way so I can open the door and keep her from being angry at me.  Now why I felt she would be upset at me for the door I have no idea.  I still can’t tell you why I felt like that now and its Friday!

In this frustration of mine I chose a violent action and hurt my wife.  Not in a “Ran into the door to explain the black eye” way but in a way that I should never use.  I was forceful and she was scared I would slip into my old angry and controlling way.  Being a rageaholic I understand her concerns.

At this point she expressed her concerns and asked for an apology and for me to acknowledge what I did as a wrong approach to my frustration.  Of course I, being a stubborn ass, refused to do this.  I think it was more a fear on my part of admitting what I did and dealing with the shame of my actions.  The control freak in me took over and refused to admit any wrong doing.  In this mind-set there is no way i could ask for forgiveness because it would mean I was wrong.

It took several hours for the control freak in my head to finally subside enough that I could see what I did was wrong, to deal with the shame of it, and seek forgiveness.  The way I did this was to tell her that I did handle the situation wrong.  I let my emotions take over and used control to keep a situation from happening that I created in my head.

Offering an apology is only half of the equation in seeking forgiveness.  After acknowledging what we did as wrong or unhealthy there is another step.  Now we must not repeat our action.  We cannot expect to have forgiveness if we keep doing that same thing over and over.  THis shows we are not truly sorry for our actions.  All we are doing at that point is using an apology as a control tactic

“If I just say what she wants to hear she will shut the hell up and leave me alone!”

Now that I have gone over a story where I was seeking forgiveness what about giving forgiveness.  This can be just as difficult as seeking at times.  It requires some effort on the part of the one giving the forgiveness.  This idea seems kind of odd, I know.

I really struggle with the idea of giving forgiveness.  So much so that this part i am unsure how to start writing about.  I know the steps in my head.  The struggle is I can’t put them down because I don’t practice them enough.  It is something I struggle with and one of the areas of myself that needs the most work.  (Well that and compassion according to my wife!  Love you baby!)  So bear with me as I struggle through this and take comfort in that fact that if you struggle with this as well you are not alone.

To offer forgiveness can seem easy.  All you do is accept an apology when it is offered.  While that is part of it there is much more to it then just that.  Once someone has shown remorse and truly asked for our forgiveness we can still hold it over them.  If we keep bring up there old actions and using that as a weapon when they do anything we disagree with then we have not truly forgiven them.

What I mean by this is if my wife were to bring up my grabbing and pushing her hand every time I was frustrated about anything from now on, she has not really accepted my apology.  If when I get frustrated with running late because of traffic and show a bit of frustration she were to say “Wow so are you going to grab me again!” then she has not really show me forgiveness.  Just like if I were to repeat the same actions shows I am not sorry, to bring up the past action is to show no forgiveness.

I am not saying that once we forgive that we must forget the action ever happened.  It is important to not forget because this allows us to know if they are really sorry or just trying to shut us up.  So forgive but don’t forget.

Forgiveness can be a challenge to both ask for and to offer.  If we learn to be forgiving it will help keep us in a healthy relationship.  We will all make mistakes, that is a given, it is how we act after that mistake that is telling of who we are.  So forgive easy, seek to be forgiven often, and love wholly.


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