Words of Hope: Struggling to Ask Forgiveness

A friend of ours is doing his dissertation on the phenomenon of forgiveness asking. He is researching the experience of asking forgiveness of family, friends, and colleagues. He asked me about my experience.  

After our interview, I thought of many questions I would like to ask Dad. The biggest question is, “What did you feel when you were asking for my forgiveness?” I would like to know what emotions he would identify.  

When Dad asked me to forgive him, I experienced the miracle of forgiveness, and it was always transcendent. I went from negative emotions: anger, shame, bitterness, resentment, etc., to complete gratitude and joy. From lack of respect toward Dad to total respect. From a desire for distance to a desire for friendship. What a remarkable experience.  

However, I notice when I am the person having to ask forgiveness, it’s a significant uphill battle in my spirit. I do not feel this transcendence. I feel overwhelmed or internally frustrated. I fight with myself and struggle to do what is right. 

During the process of asking forgiveness, I really dislike it. Afterwards, the joy emerges. What felt so repugnant becomes easy and light.   

I wish I could ask Dad about his process. Did he struggle to ask forgiveness? Did it feel internally difficult, fraught with frustration and resistance like I experience when I need to ask my family or friends to forgive me, or was the experience easy for him the entire time?  

If someone calls out my faults and I know I need to ask forgiveness, I almost always feel a desire to resist, to blame. However, once I ask forgiveness the miracle rushes into my heart and I feel thankful.  

I believe this is the spiritual battle and the decision to die to self. It is the obedience to submit to God’s will. I can resist or I can do the work trusting the feelings will follow. I appreciate my dad asking forgiveness of me and now that I can recognize the internal struggle, I bless him all the more.  

No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful, later on however it will achieve a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it. – Hebrews 12:11.