Will You Forgive Me – April 2007
By Sean Wolfington
These might be four of the most difficult words in the world to speak sincerely: Will you forgive me? They certainly are not words we hear very often in our fast-paced and highly competitive industry.
We generally think of forgiveness as a process of releasing feelings of anger or resentment toward another, but quite often we are not the victim – but the offender. We live in a world that revolves around our relationships with others. Because of the fragile nature of the human heart, it is virtually impossible to think that we will never offend someone, intentionally or not. When we hurt or offend someone, it is necessary to offer some form of acknowledgement and apology, not only for the benefi t of the person who has been offended, but for ourselves as well.
Why is it so difficult to ask for forgiveness?
The ability to seek forgiveness from another involves acknowledging our own weaknesses which, therefore, makes an implied declaration that we are fl awed, exposing our own vulnerability. We find it much easier to judge and fi nd fault in others than to take ownership of our own failings. Although the ability to seek forgiveness may be one of the most challenging virtues to practice, it is important to remember that it is in our weakness that we are made strong. No leader can continue to mature and grow without first recognizing his/her own fl awed humanity. The act of seeking forgiveness involves the humble giving of something to the person that you have offended – not something that can be measured materially, but the gift of the belief that they themselves are valued and thereby able to forgive.
Because of the common stresses of everyday life that we all encounter with regard to family matters, fi nancial obligations and the high demands of our professions, we sometimes allow ourselves to become indifferent to our offenses against those with whom we relate and the subsequent consequence of pain that affl icts those persons we encounter. Often our pride gets in the way, rendering us prone to make excuses or to justify ourselves.
Unfortunately we live in a society that has become corrupt with self-centeredness and self-gratification, and, in fact, promotes and condones this type of attitude. Even though our culture does not encourage the concept of seeking forgiveness, the good news is that the value of this attribute can be modeled within your organization to promote healthy relationships that will build and promote the self esteem of all your colleagues. This will create an environment where employees seek to improve and thrive, which will, no doubt, trickle down to the service of the dealership’s customers, fostering their respect and loyalty.
The human person innately longs to be loved, valued and esteemed. May we continually recognize this need in others as we seek forgiveness for our transgressions, thereby assisting others in their ultimate journey to seek and find the transcendent presence of love and forgiveness within their own hearts.
Sean Wolfington is the general manager of BZResults.com, an ADP Company. He can be contacted at 866.802.5753, or by e-mail at swolfi firstname.lastname@example.org.