Why You Need To Be Ready to Forgive

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If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...

  • We are mistake-makers. It is part of being human. Every day, more accurately, every hour, we err. Whether in areas of judgment, precision, or skill…individuals forget to read an entire report, they overlook a deadline, or rush to the next task without first checking their calendar. In short, we are error-ridden folk. This we have in common.

    The difference lies in how we handle our mistakes and how we respond to the transgressions of others. Do we write people off, cut them from our life (personally and professionally)? Or in the midst of the heat, do we look for some way to salvage the situation and thereby offer a lifeline to the offender?

    As people prone to creating tangled webs of problems (intentionally or not) we have a decision to make. On this barely subconscious level, each person decides whether to offer someone the benefit of the doubt or not. In short mental steps of succession, we’ve already judged and juried another’s transgression or we’ve offered forgiveness.

    Depending upon the person who’s harmed us (or our project, objective, feelings or ego), we decide. How we determine to lend some measure of compassion or grace is generally a multifactor proposition. Did we enjoy a good breakfast? Have that second cup of coffee? Was the ride to work uneventful? Did our inbox contain the messages we anticipated? Or none of the above?

    Seems petty, doesn’t it? Too often we further compound one mistake by meting out added layers of punishment simply to make a point. People generally feel bad enough after making a problematic issue larger. On a practical scope, dredging up an individual’s shortcomings does nothing to solve the problem. It’s just that it comes so “naturally” to be critical of another’s failings and we’re so good at blaming.

    Instead of believing the worst about another person (doesn’t matter much what they did or didn’t do), try extending the benefit of doubt. See how that person responds. Extend trust, both in terms of being able to right the wrong…and by expecting better results for the future. Watch what happens.

    Individuals who are aware of their shortcomings are already feeling defensive, on the edge, and ready to do battle…in their minds, it’s “me against the world.” So, a strong offensive stance is required here…offer pardon, grace, and some gesture of confidence in their ability to do better.

    The final word on trust…none of us “deserves” it, but there’s no one who doesn’t cherish it and then attempt to live up to another’s higher expectations. It’s a win-win situation for communities, for businesses, and for families.

    Michele Howe

    Michele is the author of fourteen books for women and has published over 2000 articles, reviews, and curriculum to more than 100 different publications. Her articles and reviews have been published in Good Housekeeping, First For Women, Single Parent Family, Christian Single, and many other publications. Michele’s single parenting titles include Going It Alone and Still Going It Alone. After having undergone six shoulder surgeries, Michele saw the need for a women’s inspirational health-related book co-authored with her orthopedic surgeon titled, Burdens Do a Body Good: Meeting Life’s Challenges with Strength (and Soul), released in 2010 and from which Prescription for Life, their health, medical and surgical informational book is based. One Size Fits All: Making Healthy Choices, Stepping Into a Meaningful Life, a women's health/inspirational devotional by Lighthouse of the Carolinas was released late 2012 and Faith, Friends, and Other Floatation Devices will be published in 2013 by ACTA Publications. Michele's newest release is Burden Lifters: Every Woman's Daily Guide to a Healthy Happy Life, published by Bondfire Books. Read more of Michele's work at michelehowe.wordpress.com and contact Michele at: jhowe@toast.net.

    For more information, please visit michelehowe.wordpress.com.

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    1. Lyn
      Lyn says:

      Thanks Michelle. This grace-filled post made me immediately have a change of heart about an issue. It made me realize once again how often our perspective plays a role…highlighted recently so brilliantly with the whole “what color is this dress?” conundrum.

      Reply
      • michelehowe
        michelehowe says:

        I’m with you, Lyn! Our perspective is everything (from our perspective!!!). 🙂 I’ve always appreciated that age old saying about walking in someone else’s shoes…it does change how we react (and act). Thanks for your thoughts.

        Reply

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