It’s Yom Kippur and you know what that means.
It’s that time of the year to say you’re sorry to everyone you’ve hurt, sinned against, and snubbed.
High on the list is your mother. I know because mine is there, so yours must be too. Go ahead, talk to her and humble yourself.
How about your best friend whose boyfriend you stole in college? It’s time to suggest a meeting over a bottle of wine to get through the tough moment when you ask for forgiveness.
And don’t forget the dog. Especially that time when you promised to take good care of him when your parents were out of town for the weekend. But you took him to the kennel instead so you could throw a party for your friends. It’s a good thing he doesn’t talk, but he does have a long memory.
Recognizing our selfish behavior is one thing, asking for forgiveness is another thing entirely. That takes a skill many of us don’t possess.
So how do we go about humbling ourselves and seeking genuine heartfelt reconciliation with a person we’ve wronged?
Here are three ways:
We need to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and say something like, “If I had been on the receiving end of my behavior, I would have held a grudge against you for the rest of my life.” Then let the other person talk and explain his or her feelings without interrupting and inserting your yes buts into the conversation.
Acknowledge you’ve heard what she said. “I recognize I hurt you, and I ask for your forgiveness.” Then stop. You’re there take the blame. You don’t want to wheedle out of it, no matter how much you’d like to.
- Make whatever restitution is warranted. You may not be able to return the stolen boyfriend, or take back that snide remark about your mother’s cooking, but you can begin to love these people in meaningful ways. Even the dog. Take him for a ride in your car with the sun roof open.
Once you’ve handled “making things right” with the people in your life, it’s time to think about how you’ve treated God. Have you lived your life as if he didn’t exist? That’s the big one. It’s God’s goodness that keeps you alive and healthy, feeds and dresses you, makes it possible for you to earn a living, puts you in a family, and gives you friends. And that’s just for starters. The best gift he’s given you is a way to wipe the slate clean of all your sins against him and the other people in your life. It comes in the person of his Son, Yeshua, the promised Messiah of the Scriptures.
“And we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:6 ESV
Yom Kippur can be every day (not the fasting part). What I’m talking about is if you believe in Jesus and that he paid the price of your sins on the cross, you can be forgiven now and forever.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” – John 5: 24 ESV
Now that’s worth celebrating!