STEP EIGHT CONTINUED Seek forgiveness from those we hurt unless doing so would cause further harm.
Instruction: Accept that we make mistakes.
I’ve heard people say that we shouldn’t apologize or say we’re sorry, because it acknowledges that we made a mistake or that we were wrong. I don’t, however, understand the reasoning behind the advice. Humans make mistakes. We can waste time defending our position, or we can simply say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” or “I was mistaken about the information I received,” or “I apologize, but what I heard was taken out of context and I shouldn’t have repeated it,” or “I shared information from the Internet without thinking to verify if it was true.” Life is full of little errors and to think we can live free of them is living in denial.
The examples I gave were simple ones, but there are times when the information we have been given was full of serious mistakes and issues, but we accepted it in totality and then passed it on to others as the truth. Yes, we may have been duped ourselves, but when we pass that on to others, we share in a measure of the responsibility. If that information is a set of religious beliefs that we later discover to be misleading, unfounded, or even fraudulent, we can choose to overlook it and defend it, or we can make the decision to break away from it and try to undo whatever damage we may have caused.
Perhaps our pride tells us not to admit our mistakes or to say we’re sorry. If we allow our pride to keep us in a toxic religious belief system, then we are allowing pride to allow the abuse to continue. We don’t have to live that way. We can accept that mistakes were made, correct and apologize where needed, and allow our spiritual discernment to help us make better decisions in the future.
Today’s assignment begins by acknowledging that we make mistakes and no one is perfect. As long as our mistakes don’t affect other people, we can give ourselves grace and forgiveness, but when our mistakes hurt or abuse someone else, we should consider the best way to make amends. How can we correct the mistakes we made? What can we do to prevent serious mistakes from reoccurring? Who needs an apology from us? This is difficult work, but the more we practice it, the easier it will get, and the better our lives will be.
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