Christian Counseling: Working Out Forgiveness

The Doctor Is In Question

What can I do or say after I've already said something extremely hurtful to someone sick with cancer who is presently taking chemo pills?? She's staying with me & now wants to leave-she's very angry!!!

The Doctor's Response:

Before making any attempt at an apology or doing something to show your support and love, draw out her thoughts and feelings. Let her full express her pain and the impact of your words. Then, in your own words, tell her what she has already told you, thus letting her know you have listened well. 

Chances are this is not the first incident that has significantly wounded the relationship. Past issues may not yet be resolved, but are essential to emotional forgiveness and solid reconciliation. Consider discussing anything that remains between the two of you from both your viewpoints. If you want her to stay, ask her to do so at least until the two of you have talked the problem(s) out. Then if she insists on leaving, let her do so. 

When the time is right, when she is open to hearing you, your sincere apology will more meaningful because you know more precisely what your hurtful words did to her, and she is more likely to accept them. However, if this is but another example of a loose tongue, it may be very difficult for her to quickly forgive. She may need some clear evidence of change before forgiveness is given. 

If things turn out well, think about what actions you can take to show her you care. Should one or both of you find it difficult to work out with each other, consider some professional help. It can make a difference. 


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