In a shame/honor culture, forgiveness isn’t something that is often discussed or practiced.
In our Women’s Empowerment group, we try to create a place for sharing each other’s stories and struggles and to share practical lessons to enrich the lives of those who come.
In a recent session, the leader suggested that they consider a different approach to resolving conflict, that of apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
On that very day, one participant, Rosa*, had just experienced a conflict with her sister. It was her sister’s birthday and her sister had been begging her to spend time with her. But Rosa was so eager to go to the group because of the support she receives that she ignored her sister’s pleas and left to attend the group.
When Rosa returned home, she found her sister upset and crying. Rosa realized that she had hurt her sister but rather than shaming her sister, Rosa decided to apply what she had heard in the group. She told her sister that she was sorry and asked her sister to forgive her.
Her sister was stunned that Rosa herself was willing to assume the shame.
Rosa’s apology and asking her sister for forgiveness ended up opening the door for the sisters to enjoy the rest of the evening together. They even found themselves sharing more deeply than they had ever done before. These sisters experienced the joy of restoration because Rosa was willing to be humble and ask for forgiveness. And Rosa later reported that when she asked for forgiveness, the peace that she herself had inside was so beautiful.