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OTM of Forgiveness

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on January 6, 2010


Sometimes forgiveness does have limits; if a person keeps making the same mistake for which they’re apologizing it makes the apology meaningless!

I agree.

Apologies made out of habit, where it seems like the other person doesn’t really care whether he or she hurts someone, it becomes meaningless, and most spiritual paths will agree on this. What happens in the person who is wronged is that the hurt festers to resentment and eventually dejection.

And then again I don’t.

Because not all ‘repetitive apologies’ are made ‘out of habit’.

Somewhere in all that apologizing is an awareness of wrong done and damage inflicted, and an acute sense of powerlessness to change.

How on Earth can I say this? Because I know what it means to make the same mistake over and over and not being able to change the behavior. Not knowing HOW to change, does not equal not WANTING to change.

Every time I find myself having done the same thing, the same mistake, the same damage, the same wrongdoing the shame and pain becomes stronger, fiercer and seem to be the very fuel the shortcoming feeds on…

In that space, a compassionate acceptance of my apology and reassurance that the balance has been restored between me and the wronged person can mean the difference between succumbing to a soul-killing shame and renewed courage to seek a remedy to the ‘illness’ that prevents me from readily change the behavior.

The core of the problem is that we cannot truly know what kind of apology we are being offered or why the person apologizing seem unable to change the behavior.

We can only choose to do either of two things – ask G-d to give us the patience and compassion to assume that there’s a ‘good’ reason the other seems to have trouble changing or remove ourselves from that person’s company altogether, so that we do not build resentment and end up dejected, feeling that we are not worthy of respect.

It’s all up to us.

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