Has someone ever surprised you with a genuine apology? It’s natural to seek closure, but in my life experiences, closure is a unicorn.
Surprisingly and recently in my own life, a family member who had been estranged from me for years, offered a sincere apology and it made my heart burst with joy, even though I had already forgiven this person. If this apology had happened ten years ago, perphaps there wouldn’t have been estragement, but who is to say? Life happens as it will and finding forgiveness and accepting it is a a beautiful thing. My family member and I now stay in touch more regularly and this has been gift to me!
An apology doesn’t undo pain or hurt and it shouldn’t be viewed as permission to hurt someone again. Forgivness doesn’t erase or condone pain inflicted, and that is normally the reason others say they refuse to forgive. ⠀
But when someone tells and shows you how sorry they are for the pain they’ve caused in your life, pain they caused that you didn’t deserve… well, it can really help the healing process. I always think that the deeper the wound, the longer the healing process, but a genuine apology can make a difference in this timeline. This timeline for healing is different and unique for everyone, and unfortunately, some might never truly heal.
However, this timeline doesn’t need to involve decades of estrangement! And then again, even with a beautifully expressed apology, a relatonship might not be resurrected. My hope is that healing can occur at some point and that healing can shut off a broken record of regret that often stirs up resentment and anger (justified as it may be).
A genuine apology can soften the ground, for real healing, in a hurting heart and change the timeline of restoration.