A few months ago, my sweetie started a conversation with me about how there are three little words that have been largely neglected and forgotten in our society.
I forgive you.
My first instinct was to disagree, but when I thought more, I realized what he said is true.
When someone apologizes to me, whether for something large or small, I find it difficult to know how to accept that apology. I feel awkward. And so my usual response is to say “no problem”, or “don’t worry about it”, or “it’s okay” (even if it is not okay) or some other diversionary statement.
I rarely say those three little words, because they don’t sound right. They don’t feel right. Even though they are right.
To avoid speaking forgiveness negates the apology, or at least trivializes it. But to give forgiveness, truly and honestly, that’s a powerful appreciation of the apology. If the forgiveness is sincere.
Maybe that is why I also feel awkward promising my forgiveness. When someone apologizes, I often don’t feel like forgiving. Not truly. I feel like smiling and saying everything is okay while I carry a grudge in my heart.
But God tells us to forgive. Because to truly forgive releases both people involved. Them for the grievance and me from carrying the weight of judging their actions.
In this season of Advent, while I am dwelling on the anticipation of Christmas and all that the Savior’s birth means in my heart and in my life, I am also once again committing to practice honestly and openly forgiving. And to speak those three little words until they become my instinct.