“I’m sorry, I’m sorry; would you please forgive me?!?”
There is a powerful connection between guilt and forgiveness.
Guilt keeps us stuck and depressed.
Forgiveness brings new growth and energy to relationships.
We need both for life growth to happen.
Imagine what life would be like if we lived in a world where people didn’t feel guilt for the bad things they did. How would our society and our culture change?
Or, how would life be different if we never offered forgiveness to others?
Here’s my point: I do something “bad”; my response should be guilt, as I feel bad that I hurt someone else with my behavior.
I CAN CHOOSE TO MOVE FORWARD when I have this view of guilt.
How to move From Guilt to Forgiveness
Step 1 – Move TOWARD the Broken Relationship
When you realize that your behavior has caused someone else pain, it’s your responsibility to move toward them. Reach out and set up a meeting to discuss the situation. Remember, God is opposed to the proud, but He gives more grace to the humble – so have a humble stance.
Step 2 – Own Your Part
Don’t beat around the bush. Own your behavior and be specific, not vague.
“Tammy, I am sorry I lied to you and tried to cover it up. I betrayed you, and I am sure I hurt you deeply.”
Step 3 – Ask for Forgiveness
“Tammy, would you please forgive me?”
Don’t stop at telling people you are sorry; go deeper. Ask for forgiveness. Telling them you are sorry is letting them know how you feel. Asking for forgiveness wipes the slate clean and removes the guilt.
Step 4 – Allow for Freedom
“Tina, I can’t forgive you right now. I’m very hurt, and I need to process this. You lied to me, and I don’t know if I can trust you again.”
“Tina, when you lied to me, it hurt deeply. But I can forgive you. Nevertheless, it will take some time for me to trust you again – I hope you understand. Thanks for making it right.”
To truly be IN a relationship with others, we must allow freedom. In this scenario, Tina had to allow Tammy the freedom to forgive for it to be genuine. Forgiveness is never forced.
One Last Thought
There’s a lot to guilt and forgiveness. If you seek additional help dealing with hurts from your past (and how to have some difficult conversations), please contact me. Don’t go another day struggling with forgiveness.