The Experience of True Forgiveness

At the Kitchen, there are always opportunities for people to say, “I am sorry.” Sadly, we don’t hear, (or say) these words often enough. Each of us experience brokeness and often times during our low moments we act out and behave in ways that are rather unattractive and unhealthy.

Early last week I obeserved a young man behaving poorly and to put it simply; he was being a bully. To no surprise, when called on his actions he became more angry and defensive. He refused or perhaps was unable to acknowledge HIS disruptive and intimidating behavior. Before he stormed out of the dining room, he made it clear that he doesnt “need to come here” and “I won’t be back!” (minus some strong language…)

Today, over a week has passed and he returned. In my opinion, he appeared very humble as he apologized for his actions. It was a heartfelt apology without any excuses. This opened the door to a conversation about how we will not tolerate bullying of any kind. This turned into a “teachable moment” on how we respond to people who are different from us and how to react to people who we may not like. (Now it is his turn to practice!)

A heartfelt apology is a force in itself! But when we offer the sincere words and actions of forgiveness, then we see the grace of healing and nurture. During our conversation, this young man heard my words of forgiveness yet at the end, he started to walk away believing he was no longer welcomed here. My actions of welcoming him in for a meal clearly surprised him.

Over the past year we have experienced many incidents of individuals behaving poorly. We may hear the words “I’m sorry”, but sadly, not often enough, at least not sincerely.

I strongly believe our actions of forgiveness (with accountability) offer a true example for others to see it is safe to admit mistakes and hopefully learn from them. It is safe to be held accountable, to be vulnerable and to learn to be part of the good within our community. This is part of our mission “to improve the quality of life and to restore dignity to hungry individuals and families by providing nutritious food and comradery in a safe, warm and caring environment for all who enter our doors.”

What a blessing to be able to say and mean the words; “I am sorry” and such a gift to share in the experience of true forgiveness.
Peace and all good~!