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I’m Sorry. I Was Wrong. Please Forgive Me.

Have you ever had to say that? I’m sorry. Please forgive me? I know that I have had to say that on a number of occasions.

When I was a kid, my younger brother and I were very competitive. We both loved sports and were very active in baseball, football, and hockey. That would always lead to disagreements, arguments, and fighting. Yes we had some physical skirmishes. My mother would always make us shake hands and say “I’m sorry”. It didn’t matter who was at fault. We both had to say we were sorry. We would go through the procedure, just to satisfy my mom, but we would walk away with our noses in the air. We didn’t mean one word of it.

That is not the kind of “sorry”, that I’m talking about here. I’m talking about when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are wrong and you need to apologize and ask for someone to forgive you.

I know that right now, you are setting back and thinking of a time when you had to that. Or you should have done that. Maybe you need to do that right now with someone? We’ve all been there.

I had to do it just the other day. I had written an article. I had a lot of people who loved the article. Right at the end of this article, I wrote something that some people took offense too. They brought it to my attention. I didn’t see it that way and I ignored the whole thing. My conscience started to work on me, and I started to think about what they had said, and I knew what I had to do. “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

There is something magical that happens when those words are spoken with truth and sincerity. When you really mean it. Not like when my brother and I did it, but when you truly are sorry and take the other person aside. Look them in the eye, and with all the sincerity you can muster, you tell them…..” I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

The story goes of Simon Wiesenthal. He survived a German concentration camp, and spent the rest of his life hunting down war criminals. He was performing one of his duties in the camp, when he was called and rushed to the side of a dying German solider. The solider wanted to ask the forgiveness of a “Jew” before he died for all the killing that he had done. With bloody puss filled bandages all over this soldier’s body, he grabbed Wiesenthal and pulled him toward his face and asked for his forgiveness. Wiesenthal pulled the soldier’s clutching hands from off himself, and slowly walked away……. He could not forgive him.

Wiesenthal said that he had no right to forgive and grant that solder’s dying wish. In so doing, he would be forgiving him on the behalf of others, and he had no right to do that. Not forgiving creates a horrible chasm that builds up over time, never to be crossed again. It can make the heart grow cold, hard, and bitter, never to be penetrated with warmth, compassion or love ever again.

On a different note. Armando Galarraga, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, did something that only twenty other pitchers, in major league baseball history have ever done. He pitched a perfect game.

For those of you who are not baseball fans. A perfect game is when a pitcher throws to 26 batters, and gets everyone of them out. No walks, no runs. A perfectly pitched game.

Unfortunately, that is not how umpire, Jim Joyce saw it.

Picture this in your mind. Your in the ninth inning. You are one out away from going into the history books as only the 21st pitcher to ever throw a perfect game. The batter hits a routine ground ball. The throw is made. Everyone is standing on their feet. The cheers go up! He is out!……but wait a minute! Hold on! The first base umpire, Jim Joyce, has called the batter safe. The perfect game is gone. The once in a lifetime event is gone. It’s like blowing a perfect 300 game in bowling on the last pin. It’s all over. What a catastrophic loss. To be so close, and to know that you may never have this opportunity again.

But something even more crazy happens. After umpire Jim Joyce, watches the video replay of that specific last out of the game, he realizes that he made the wrong call. The batter was out. He than went over to the Tigers dugout. Went over to Armando Galarraga, and told him that he had made the wrong call. Umpire Jim Joyce told Galarraga that he was sorry. Galarraga held no anger or animosity toward Joyce, but praised Umpire Jim Joyce for what he had done, in saying he was sorry.

Fans everywhere wanted the league to fire Jim Joyce. The police escorted him back to his hotel. Everyone was anger and mad at the decision of Umpire Jim Joyce. Except one man. Armando Galarraga. He wasn’t mad.

These simple words can have a profound and healing effect. They can calm the storm and furry of an emotionally charged heart.

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me”. Do you need to say that to someone? They are magic words. Do something magical today. Bring healing into someone’s life……and yours.

Brian Gosur

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