Afghanistan (Photo credit: Ricymar Fine Art Photography)

We made a mistake.  We, members of the United States military, accidentally burned the Koran in Afghanistan.  President Obama apologized.  The apology was not accepted by some of the people of Afghanistan according to the resulting violence.  There are those who believe it was inappropriate to even apologize, including Newt Gingrich. International incidents are more complex than individual relationships, but it seems that some of the same rules of behavior should apply.  People, even the best of us, make mistakes.  We do things we don’t mean to do.  When we make a mistake, we apologize.


Forgiveness is difficult sometimes.  There are hurt feelings.  I do not know what the Afghanistan people feel, but i know that the actions of others have hurt me deeply.  Sometimes my anguish is about broader issues in the relationship rather than the particular incident.  It appears that the anger of those reacting violently in Afghanistan is about more than just one incident.  The same thing happens to us.  We have our feelings about an entire relationship that come to the surface in one incident.  Apologies are made, but it seems that they are too little too late.  We don’t want to forgive.  We cannot forgive the pain that has been caused.  We are deeply hurt.  we are so overwhelmed with the negative emotions that we cannot see a way pat them.


May I suggest you take a moment to consider the need for forgiveness.  When someone offends, mistreats, or otherwise hurts you, take a moment to consider the situation.  Is it possible that it really was an accident?  Are you upset about other things besides the situation at hand?  Relationships take time to build and tear down.  It may be a much larger issue than this one moment in time.  We need to consider if things have been building up, and we have failed to address issues in the relationship.  We need to consider if we are overreacting because of past sufferings and memories that have nothing to do with the current situation.  We need to be honest about the source of our emotions.  This takes time.

Once we have considered our reactions and emotions, we should consider the times when we have needed forgiveness. All of us fall short of the glory of God.  All humanity sins.  When we repent and ask for God’s forgiveness, then it is granted.  If those in our lives turn from what they are doing and ask our forgiveness, shouldn’t we attempt to let go of our own pain, anger, and hurt?  What good is it if we stay angry?


Forgive those who make mistakes.  Forgive others.  Accept forgiveness from God.


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