The Genuine Article

  Go for the genuine article!

Recently, I was speaking with a group of cattle ranchers and a question was raised regarding what to do when family members don’t get along.

Before answering, I paused. What I said was that it depends on how important forgiveness is to you.

 Is forgiveness a core value

in your family business?

Someone in the group volunteered to speak up and said, “I can forgive just about anyone.” That just about sums it up for most of us, doesn’t it? We all have a ways to go when it comes to forgiveness…stated differently,

 We are all a work in progress

when it comes to forgiveness.

So, take some time to ask your team whether they value forgiveness – really value it.

When I gave my response to the group, I shared that I believe forgiveness can be extended unilaterally. If you’ve offended me, I can choose to forgive you whether you take any action or not.

Forgiveness is not only a work in progress in me, but it poses a bit of a conundrum. If you offended me, I can say that I forgive you? But what about when I wake up in the middle of the night agitated over what you did to me? Am I done with forgiveness? NO!  So, how many times do I have to forgive you? How long will it take?

As long as it takes…

I dared to go further down that track in my response. I stated my belief that while forgiveness can be something I do without any action on your part, reconciliation is different. Forgiveness is complete when the offense no longer separates. BUT, reconciliation takes two.

Reconciliation means

I feel your arms around me

and you feel my arms around you.

As hard as the work is to really forgive, reconciliation can be even harder. You see, I can control (at least some of the time J) my behavior. BUT, NEWS FLASH…no matter how I may try, I cannot control your behavior.

I’ve tried to control behavior when it comes to forgiveness and reconciliation.

When I was little, we had a neighborhood bully. He repeatedly would beat up on my little sister. And repeatedly I would pin him down and say,

 Now say you’re sorry!!

Well, Mark, how did that work out for you? I got what I thought I wanted…a semblance of confession…a semblance of forgiveness…a semblance of reconciliation. But that’s all it was – a semblance…not the real thing…

I’ve learned (I probably should say, “I am learning”) to give people room to say they’re sorry. The apology is then genuine. The forgiveness is then appropriate.

 Reconciliation is then a real possibility.

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