Thursday, March 1, 2012

Asking for Forgiveness

"Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues." Proverbs 17:28

For some reason, I have a very vivid memory of my college softball experience that has nothing to do with softball. At some point during my freshman season, the coach could sense that the team was not unified off the field at all. If you've participated in athletics, you know that that can often reflect on the playing field as well. He gave us a lecture: part pep talk, part sermon (I guess) about how we needed to come clean with each other and unite. That must have struck a chord with many, because there were girls going to each other telling their true feelings and asking each other to forgive.

There we are, I'm in the second row, first person on the left.

Then there was me. I must have been oblivious or naive, because I didn't feel negatively towards anyone. But it didn't go both ways. One girl came up to me and started spilling her guts about all the horrible things she thought about me and how she really couldn't stand me.


Up to that point, I thought we were fine. I actually knew her and her family before I arrived at college, I thought we were pals actually. But she had kept a lot to herself, and up to that point, she had probably done what the Bible told her to do - and that was, to keep silent.


Or should we do what my coach was indicating we should do? I'm not sure if that's really what he meant. Maybe he meant the ones who were bickering openly should mend that hurt and yuckiness. Maybe he didn't know that others were harboring feelings like the girl who didn't like me. Did she do the right thing?

If I've had unkind thoughts towards someone, questioned their decisions or outright judged them, but I've kept all that to myself, should I go to them and ask them to forgive me for that? Or is it more wise to continue to keep it to myself?

I've actually thought of this through the years. I can't imagine going to someone who is oblivious to my judgmental thoughts and asking them to forgive me for them, when otherwise they think we are fine! I believe the Bible talks about asking for forgiveness from people who we have offended...but if I've kept silent, I haven't offended them yet.

Part of me feels like what the girl did on my softball team was just unload her own guilt. Maybe she should have asked God to forgive her for feeling that way or thinking those thoughts, but should she have asked me to forgive?

I don't know.

Have you ever experienced this? On either side?


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I have thought about this before...I definitely tend to be the silent one...and I think it's more important to ask God to change ME than change the other person.

I'm torn about how to approach a situation where there has been an obvious rift in the relationship but there hasn't been communication in years...and I don't want there to be in the future either...but feel like I need them to know that I've forgiven them for their actions and words. What do you think? Wouldn't me approaching them about it appear like I want there to be a relationship from here on out? How do you do that without beginning a relationship?

Mandy said...

I'm not sure that the girl on your softball team did what she should (biblically). I think when we have these types of thoughts or judgmental attitudes, it's something we have to work through ourselves and give it up to God. To tell the person about these feelings is just (as you said) giving up guilt...which is something that can also be given to God.

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