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    JOHNTJ1   72,505
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The Other Side of Forgivness

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dave and I had been friends for close to ten years. About five years ago, Dave went through some really dramatic changes in his life. I offered as much support as I could but Dave gradually slipped into a life style that was destructive and dangerous. In short, he scared me. I tried reasoning; I tried yelling and screaming, group intervention, the whole nine yards but to no avail. Dave, as we used to say in the 70’s; “checked out.” It was then I learned that practicing “You are who you hang around with,” is much tougher than repeating it like some sort of mantra. During one final, emotional encounter, Dave and I parted ways and I haven’t heard from him for almost five years.

One thing I’ve been working on for a while is creating space inside of myself for health and wholeness and removing the things that keep me from reaching that place. So I lie in bed one night last week simply reflecting on life in general and Dave crossed my mind. Our parting wasn’t pleasant. It was necessary but not pleasant. Dave chose a path to walk I couldn’t abide by. Anyone who tells you love isn’t ever painful has never known true love. I’m not sure if I was angry, frustrated or a little of both but as I lie there last week it crossed my mind that I could have handled it better. My next thought was that after five long years I owed Dave an apology for the way I’d handled things.

I sent Dave an email late Monday evening. I told him I didn’t know how to begin so I simply told him I was sorry for the tone, tenor and some of the language I used during our last meeting. I told him I didn’t have a hidden agenda and that I didn’t have five months to live or anything like that. I handled the situation wrong and for that I was sorry. I have to tell you, I felt a large weight leave my shoulders when I hit the “send” button and then I forgot about it. I was surprised that Dave answered my email. I wasn’t expecting it and hadn’t written it to illicit a response. I wrote it because my heart told me it was the right thing to do. I was apologizing; not looking for forgiveness.

Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee always made a point to walk to the front of the temple and make a show of his praise, a sorta “Hey God look at me!!! Thank goodness I’m not like any of these other people. I ALWAYS do the right things. I NEVER do this or that. Dang, I am an amazing person, aren’t I”

In the back of the temple sat the publican. Best I can figure is the publican was the guy was frowned upon socially, morally and professionally. They weren’t held in high self- esteem. They probably struggled a lot in life and had a hard time getting things right and most often “stepped in it” more often than not. Jesus says the publican sat in the back of the temple simply praying “God have mercy on me a sinner.” Jesus then asked the crowd which person prayers his Father heard. (I always see myself sitting somewhere in the middle of that temple – Not to humble but not too proud either.)I hadn’t told anyone about my apology letter, not even Joan, and I tell Joan everything. (Joan often raises her hand and shouts “TMI John, TMI)

Dave’s response was unnerving. In short he told me he was glad I had suffered and NO HE WOULDN’T FORGIVE ME. I felt bad for a few moments. Maybe he misunderstood or maybe I didn’t communicate clearly so I wrote back and told him I wasn’t asking for his forgiveness, I was apologizing for my actions. His forgiveness would be freely given or not. Like the publican I was acknowledging “my sin.” Dave’s response was two words.

Jesus tells us that each day we must pick our cross and follow his path. The Buddha teaches that before we reach that moment of joy and bliss that suffering is necessary. It’s the other side of forgiveness. It comes when we extend a hand and sincerely apologize and our apology is rebuffed. It doesn’t minimize the effect, but sometimes it hurts.

Namaste dear ones

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SILLYHP1953 3/19/2013 2:09PM

    Isn't it great to reach a point in life when you realize you do not have to try and change people, and you cannot change them anyway even if you tried. That was one of the hardest lessons I ever learned in this life, and some days I still have to remember it.

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CHRISTINASP 2/12/2013 3:37PM

    I thought a bit more today about this entry. I'm thinking that regardless of his response, your mail to him may still have a positive impact on him. Even if he's not able to respond to you in kind right now, maybe later on he will reflect on it and appreciate it... or not.
Maybe the fact that you mailed him and apologized may lead to HIS someday apologizing to someone else. So you have probably made a good choice in mailing him. Sometimes it takes years for a person, well, for me anyway, to realize what a certain gesture by someone means.
Then I was also thinking that you could also have written that letter but not sent it and just pray for D. and send him your love / good thoughts.

Comment edited on: 2/12/2013 3:39:28 PM

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WALKNLOVE 2/12/2013 5:52AM

    YOU did the right thing....whether he accepted it or not. 5 years had passed, and you felt in your heart it was the right thing to do, and I believe, of what I know of you, you were walking in love back then, just as you are now. I have a friend too, who has choosen " a different path". I have debated between myself to intervene or not. I know one choice leaves me without a friend, and the other leaves an open door, that should she come to her senses, she will know I have always been here, waiting & praying for her. We talk from time to time on fb, but that's about it. Sometimes she reminences on the past, and sometimes, "she's out there". It does hurt, either way, because the friend I knew, is not there any more. It might not be a physical death, but it is still a grieving process. I pray God sends you a new equally important to you as the last. God has a way of doing that. I know he did for me. and while they may not be that same person, they sure do help. The truth is, they are a real gift from God! BUT, so is every true friend, and they shape and mold us into better people. Ones that try to love as God did! Continue to pray for your old never know when they might make that turn & realize they need you. Even if they don't, or you don't see it, prayer does change things. Blessings to you my friend. * And I just said a prayer for you! And keep right on loving God & loving people....It's what we are called to do! emoticon

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NASFKAB 2/12/2013 5:11AM

  you did the right thing all the best

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SEEINGCLEARLY53 2/12/2013 12:15AM

    I think you did the right thing,,,,,his response I think shows you , you did the right thing in the first place by ending the relationship,,,,,take care......

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GEEMAWEST 2/12/2013 12:07AM

    You did the right thing and that's all you can do. emoticon

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CARTOONB 2/11/2013 11:38PM

    It sounds like Dave isn't one of those folks you want to be around right now. You have to like you and not worry about what the rest of us think. It seems like you're doing that pretty well.

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BBECKER1955 2/11/2013 7:39PM

    You did the right thing, regardless of the response. Sleep well my friend. Excelsior!

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NWFL59 2/11/2013 7:30PM

    Nameste emoticon

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HDHAWK 2/11/2013 7:22PM

    Ouch John. Sometimes doing the right thing does hurt. I have a feeling your friend hasn't checked back in to life yet or he would have responded differently.

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MOBYCARP 2/11/2013 5:10PM

    Yeah, that's the tough part about forgiveness. Sometimes, for your own sake, you need to forgive someone without being able to achieve reconciliation. You did the right thing. You apologized, and you communicated the apology, and you gave Dave a chance for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation.

It didn't happen, but that doesn't mean it was wrong to forgive Dave and apologize. This will still benefit you.

You're a better man than I am. I could find it in my heart to forgive someone like Dave in similar circumstances, but I doubt I would actually reach out and communicate an apology after five years of no contact. That doesn't make my way right; I know full well that your way is better.

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CHRISTINASP 2/11/2013 2:34PM

    Yes, I understand that hurts.

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ANATASHIKI 2/11/2013 2:06PM

    John , there 's a good thing in this. if he was glad you suffered it means he deserved the way you behaved and still deserves it. you don't have to feel guilty for it. it's your spirit , soul , heart , whatever that doesn't resonate with that vibration anymore. you did the right thing , move on. if he wants to stay there , good riddance!
it's weird you mention suffering is necessary. I do not believe that. I used to but not anymore. I truly believ that we can learn in other ways , not only through pain. but I can't force my conviction on my loved ones so I'm not pain proof, their pains are worse than mines. anyway , you remember that thing , now it's your turn to forgive him , he probably has no idea what he's doing

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OUBACHE 2/11/2013 12:51PM

    You've opened the door, but you can't force your friend to walk through it. But maybe someday he'll think about things differently and will be glad to find the door is still cracked a little bit. At least you can be at peace knowing you've done what you feel is right.

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TERRIPAL1 2/11/2013 12:40PM

    emoticon wow I'm shocked, but you're on the right path, and thanks for your blog I always learn something about life!

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KENDRACARROLL 2/11/2013 11:14AM

You're such a sensitive guy.

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CRYSTALJEM 2/11/2013 11:12AM

    An apology can be therapeutic for both parties but it doesn't have to be. You have "owned" your part, when Dave is ready he will own his part too. Until then, you've taken the step to balance yourself, and that's what "is" right now, just as it is meant to be... For now. Namaste.

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CC3833 2/11/2013 10:51AM

    Oh gosh. I know how this feels. I had a friend in college like this. She was fine but then decided to walk a path I was just not even willing to look at. I told her I would still be friends with her but only her not her new group. Needless to say she picked the other group. It didn't end well and then when I saw her a year or so later she wasn't the nicest to me... so be it. I tried to help and that's all I could do.

I bet it does sting a bit to be told that you aren't forgiven. But like you said you weren't asking for it. You don't give to charity asking for something in return.

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SHERIO5 2/11/2013 9:46AM

    Ouch. I have been in your hurts. I still grieve for friendship broken..

Character has been described as doing the right thing...even when no one sees or appreciates...


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VICKI-BISHOP56 2/11/2013 9:24AM

  I'm glad you found peace and hopefully one day your old friend will get his head screwed on straight. It's between him and God now. emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 2/11/2013 9:20AM

    Well done, John. I'm proud of you.

And, much more importantly, your Heavenly Father is very proud of you too!

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CELIAMINER 2/11/2013 9:01AM

    You took the high road. I'm sad for you that Dave responded as he did, but I'm happy for you that you have such a mature attitude about it. I had a similar situation a few years ago. A couple I knew split very acrimoniously when the woman was pregnant, and I ran as fast as I could away from the situation. She had reached out to me, and I was terrified she would want me to "carry her" through and somehow make things right. It was a terrible thing to do, and I regretted it for years. Finally, I tracked down an address for her and wrote an actual letter to apologize. She never answered. But the good that came out of my writing that letter was letting go of guilt and forgiving myself. Her response of no response was her choice.

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MICKEYMAX 2/11/2013 8:58AM

    John, I am proud of you for doing what you did. Bummer on Dave and his responses, but you cannot change him. Congrats on recognizing that you needed to do what is best for you. I am always sad to see the end of a friendship, but sometimes it just has to be that way.

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DEBRITA01 2/11/2013 8:48AM

    When we apologize and it's not accepted it is difficult to process. We have to remind ourselves that this is the other person's option. In knowing that Dave doesn't have to forgive you, but you can choose to forgive him (and yourself) , that can bring some peace. emoticon

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TRISTAROSE 2/11/2013 8:47AM


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REGILIEH 2/11/2013 8:41AM

    Interesting! One more proof that you did what you neede to do when you cut the relationship, and proof that your former friend is still in the unhealthy lifestyle. Of you already knew he was still in his unhealthy lifestyle or he would have contacted you. It is so sad to see those we care for destroy themselves, or for that matter it is sad to see anyone destroy themselves.

Keep the faith! emoticon

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DOODIE59 2/11/2013 8:41AM

    You did the right thing, and for the right reasons. The forgiving is not the point. I do think, though, that your apology may sink in over time and allow your one-time friend to heal a little. And that will help him grow and find some ease. I strongly believe that what we can do to help alleviate other people's pain and turmoil is worth doing.

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ATAMBE 2/11/2013 8:41AM

  As mother Terese said in the end it is between you and God..

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PICKIE98 2/11/2013 8:41AM

    I am going out on a limb and assuming Dave's answer was not "Apology accepted" or "It's okay"..
I think I know what it was.
You did exactly the right thing, BUT the best thing that happened here was the affirmation that Dave WAS and is still is, in the same place and behavior that he was in five years ago,, You made the right decision, your gut told you what was morally right and you acted upon it at that time and in the present.
We have to accept other people's behavior. We do not, however, have to tolerate unacceptable behavior in any form.

It is very hard to detach the behavior from the person, but it is still possible to love a person but detach them from our life. Praying for a spiritual awakening is a great option here.

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