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'Being forgiven' by others relieves us of a debt
we owe to others who have been victims
of our choices and actions.
Asking forgiveness is the first step.


Principle One

Principle Two

Sometimes our choices hurt others in ways we did not intend. Circumstances in people's lives can cause people around us to be harmed by our actions or our words. A child, a co-worker, a neighbor, a spouse. . . each of these people can be effected in ways we could not have anticipated. How could we have known that something awful just happened to them causing them to be unusually sensitive? Had we known, would we have intentionally caused harm to them?

But what should we do to relieve their suffering and the growing conflict in our mind?

     (1) We can carry this burden, struggling to justify our actions and find relief from the guilt. We can live with this unresolved conflict in our mind and heart that often expands to our relationships, doing them harm; or

     (2) We can ask forgiveness of those to whom we caused pain. We can accept that what we did was harmful to another, reach out to help the person we harmed, and ask them to forgive us. Whether they forgive us or not, this request relieves a lot of our suffering, as we have done what we could.

One of the most important people we need to ask and give forgiveness to is ourself. We often carry burdens of guilt, punishing ourselves for things because we feel we deserve to experience the pain and suffering. 

Can't do it, you say? You don't want to open that can of worms by confronting it?
We're talking about things that caused pain and suffering to others. Things we fully did not intend, but somehow we missed clues or cues in our environment that may have tipped us off that we needed to 'tread lightly' or be more careful --the day-to-day relationship events that can get out of control quite unexpectedly.

Asking forgiveness has incredible power to calm conflict, even large conflicts. Saying, "I'm sorry," lets the other person see that you have felt their pain and are truly sorry for having caused it. Your request for their forgiveness is often the one thing the other person is waiting for to enable them to put the situation to rest and move on.

But what if we harmed someone quite intentionally? What then?

Learn more. . .