Thursday, August 09, 2012

Forgiveness: The Divine Gift

With the Internet, we can forge friendships around the world with people we may or may never meet in person. Not long ago I lost a friend I never met--Ken Rhodes.  He was a friend to many online, and he is missed.

Hearing of his death was a shock to me.  His death reminded me of what a kind, generous, and courageous man he was.  He had a chance to prove it to me just before he died, and he did.

Ken wrote a comment to one of my posts that hurt my feelings and to which I took offense.  If that same remark had been made by someone I did not know, I would have ignored it, but since I knew Ken, I wrote a private message to him, expressing my feelings.

He almost immediately wrote a private message back to me explaining what he meant and apologizing to me.  I won’t tell you the whole message, but it concluded with this:

I meant no disrespect to you in my comment . . . was designed to carry some humor. It is obvious that both efforts failed.

Again, please accept my honest apology. I meant you no insult at all. Feel free to delete the comment.

Best regards, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.


I sent him this reply within minutes

Ken, I accept your apology. And I apologize for taking offense when none was intended. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "A person who takes offense when no offense was intended is a fool." That would be me.

Your friend,

We wrote those messages December 14, 2009.  A week later Ken was dead.

Jesus taught us to forgive, if we want others to forgive us.  He taught that we must forgive others if we want God to forgive us.  I now see the wisdom in this teaching more than ever, because it would have been doubly tragic if I had lost a friend and a rift between us remained.

The Void

By Harvey L. Gardner

Telling a person what we truly feel—
that we
love them,
value them,
trust them,
rely on them,
admire them—
a thing seldom done.

A pity when they’re gone.
Greater pity though,
The void in our soul.
Telling would’ve made us whole.

Copyright © Harvey L. Gardner, 1999


babsda said...

Hello, Harvey. My name is Barbara (Stephens) Davidson and a Martin native. I have lived in the frozen north (Chicagoland)for about 43 years now and have enjoyed your writings and especially this one. How touching. I can relate to your friends "mispoke" because I have done that, too. I love the way you handled it and I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote. Thanks.

Harvey L. Gardner said...

Hey, Barbara! Thanks so much for you kind words. I appreciate your reading and commenting. Lot of Martin folks--some of my kin--moved to Chicagoland. It's always good to hear from you.