Updated: Apr 28
I know it’s hard to admit.
We all make mistakes.
When a mistake happens there are usually two participants of the act: the one who caused the mistake and the one who is damaged by the mistake.
If we experience any form of damage, most of the time it’s quite difficult to just go back to how things were before the act!
In most cases, many of us continue to hold on to the situation and refuse to let go of the offense.
Rather we are the person who caused the pain or the one who suffered the pain, as believers, we must learn to forgive others and ourselves no matter the circumstance.
Forgiveness always begins with a mistake.
I currently work as a full-time laundry attendant for a local homeless shelter.
My job is pretty easy.
Every morning, I pick up the residents’ laundry bags inside a soiled bin, roll all of the mesh sacks to the laundry room, wash/dry the clothes, fold each individual piece, place the garments back inside of the bags, and return the clothing items back to the residents.
Each individual has an unique room number on the outer surface of the bags.
Therefore, I always load in the laundry with the bag.
So, it’s no problem when it’s time to return their laundry!
Sounds simple, right?
On a particular day, I’d been washing non-stop and the laundry bags were quickly dwindling in the soiled bin.
I noticed there was a full load of whites inside a dark blue laundry bag.
I proceeded to start the machine, add some detergent, and take each individual garment out of the laundry bag to place inside the washer machine.
Because the load was filled with all white items, I made sure to set the temperature of the water to hot and I added an extra amount of bleach to the load. I wanted to make sure those clothes were white as snow!
By the time the load was finished, I eagerly pulled open the washer machine’s door and was instantly horrified…
I forgot to take out the dark blue bag!
The moment I saw those clothes I knew they were ruined!
My stomach began to flutter with butterflies and my face instantly tensed up.
Mentally, I began talking down on myself because of the mistake I made.
“How in the world did I forget to take out the dark blue bag?”
“They are going to hate me for messing up their clothes!”
I figured, “I know! I’ll try to wash this load again with more bleach!”
Yeah, the stains didn’t budge.
Finally, I realized no matter how many times I washed the damaged laundry those stains were not coming out!
Later on, I completed all of the other resident’s laundry.
As I began placing the remaining laundry bags in the “Clean Linens Only” bin, I thought of many ways of sharing my mistake to the person who I unknowingly damaged.
And, let me tell you all, I considered so many ways to express my sincerest apology!
I thought of having my supervisor to explain the matter to writing a sincere apology note.
I even thought of not returning their laundry!
(Don’t judge me)
I felt so bad, yet I knew what needed to be done.
Though I’d never talk to the person, I decided I would tell them about my careless actions and apologize.
Forgiveness is never one sided.
As I approached the resident’s door, all the nerves from when I damaged the laundry came bag within me.
To rush the process, I decided to quickly knock on the door.
I felt maybe they wouldn’t be in their room.
Just my luck, the person answered their bedroom door within seconds.
Then, I immediately handed them the clothing items and began explaining the situation that occurred.
Likewise, I shared how deeply sorry I was and I offered replacing the stained items.
To my surprise, the person began to laugh hysterically about the situation.
They shared how I didn’t need to replace the items because they forgave me and politely shut their bedroom door.
I was completely stunned by their actions.
The way they forgave me I didn’t even share that much love for myself!
As I headed back to my work area, I was reminded of the following scripture in Matthew:
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you.”
In this life, we must remember we aren’t perfect and we all make mistakes!
Though forgiving is not always simple, it’s certainly necessary.
Each day, our Heavenly Father graces us with unlimited amounts of forgiveness.
It doesn’t matter the offense.
When we ask Him to forgive us, He forgive and He forgets.
Let’s challenge ourselves to show this kind of grace the next time someone offend us or when we make a mistake to forgive ourselves!
A lot of times we can avoid harm if we simply think before making decisions.
When we make a mistake, it doesn’t matter how many times we try we cannot undue the act.
Prolonging the apology causes more damage than the act itself.
When an offense happens, we must make sure to go to the offender to resolve the problem in love.
Let’s always be willing to express grace!
(Even to ourselves!!)
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