Forgiveness sets you free from resentment’s confines; it breaks down the walls that anger builds and negativity reinforces.

I was struck by a facebook post from a friend. She shared the simple Act of Contrition taught to her in grade school to her own daughter. Here it is

O God, I am sorry for my sins. Please forgive me. I know you love me and I want to love you, and be good to everyone. Help me make up for my sins, I will try to do better from now on. Amen

I was also taught about the act of contrition in a Catholic School but that was over 40 years ago. All I remember is “Forgive me, Father for I have sinned…these are my sins…blah blah”. The act of contrition is a Christian prayer genre that expresses sorrow for sins. I don’t need to rattle off my sins to a priest because I have done this privately many times.  I believe God is everywhere.

The truth is I have sinned for acts that I did as a wife and mother. Though I have said sorry and seeked forgiveness from God and from family members as well, I think one must also forgive oneself and never do it again. Apologize and make amends for one’s bad action or words are the steps to healing and preventing resentment in relationships.

It’s never too late to apologize

Why should I apologize? I have learned that as long as I am sincere in my apology, saying sorry lifts that the burden off my chest as instant relief washes over me. I certainly don’t want to prolong any bad blood.  A proper apology will straighten everything out. According to psychologist Guy Winch, author of Emotional First Aid, “An effective apology doesn’t just heal the wound for the other person. It’ll dissolve your guilt, too.”

Basically, whenever an apology is given, one has to truly mean it—and strive to change one’s behavior so that  mistakes won’t happen again.

Twelve  years ago, my husband and I had our own share of marital conflicts. He would do something I found objectionable and then very quickly say sorry. I told him I  more interested in seeing his  behavior change.  It’s easy to say sorry; it’s harder to spend the time to understand why you’ve hurt someone and to work on not hurting them again.

Practice forgiveness

Through the years, my husband has shown through his actions that he wanted  to change. After truly being sorry, forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we gave each other.

Forgiveness sets you free from resentment’s confines; it breaks down the walls that anger builds and negativity reinforces.

When we forgive, we stop letting our pasts dictate our presents. We acknowledge we want the very best for ourselves; accepting that our past makes us the person we are today, and embracing that.

Letting go of resentment doesn’t necessarily lead to forgiveness, but when you embrace forgiveness, resentment ceases to exist.

I know that I cannot control what other people do including family members, but I can control how I react. When I practice truthful living, self-expression, and forgiveness, resentment simply has no place or power in my life.