I get a good kick out of watching kids ask for forgiveness. They come dragging their feet, arms crossed, with a sour, scowling face. They have their head hanging as they mutter the dreaded words: I’m sorry. Their volume is a hair above a whisper. It is quite a painful ordeal for them. Of course they are apologizing because they were forced to, not necessarily because they mean it.

We can be that way sometimes.

But to truly ask for forgiveness takes humility and strength. It’s a beautiful act that reveals a glimpse of our Heavenly Father.

A few weeks ago I had an encounter with the cleaning lady at the gym where I work out. I had walked away from a bench I was using to put a curling bar back on the rack. My water was on the floor next to the bench I had been using, while my phone was sitting on the actual bench. When I returned to the bench, my water bottle was gone. I looked all around and saw the cleaning lady not to far away. I immediately knew she had taken it! Just a few weeks prior she had taken my water that was again, near a spot I was working at. To say I was not happy about this happening again was an understatement! I rushed over to her and asked if she had taken my water. The obvious answer was yes. She didn’t seem to care much, and in fact, starting arguing with me about how it wasn’t her fault.

I was fuming! I NEED MY WATER WHEN I’M WORKING OUT! Unfortunately, I realized this conversation was completely unproductive, as it was escalating quite quickly, so I walked away. I went back to my waterless workout only for the cleaning lady to approach me 2-minutes later and further defend herself. I had nothing good to say and therefore chose to ignore this woman’s defense and continued on with my weight lifting.

Super spiritual of me, right?

This particular cleaning lady is always at the gym when I go early in the morning. Naturally, we see and run into each other on a daily basis. That made things a bit awkward for the next few weeks.

Just the other day I was in the locker room when the cleaning lady came thru. It was just the two of us in there. My head was screaming awkward! just ignore! I really didn’t know what to do. But the cleaning lady did. She came right over to me and apologized for throwing out my water bottles. She asked for forgiveness! I was shocked and touched by the strength and humility she showed in doing that. I was also completely humbled myself as I thought, geez, here she’s coming to me to keep the peace

I immediately became “spiritual” as I downplayed the incident, introduced myself and asked what her name was. Now we’re the best of friends! Ok, not really, but the tension and awkwardness between us is gone!

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. It heals, restores and sets free.

I now think very highly of the cleaning lady after what she did. Whenever I see her, I am reminded of her humility and strength and what forgiveness can accomplish. She could have carried on and been annoyed at me while I was annoyed at her. But she chose to show me a glimpse of strength and beauty by humbling herself and apologizing. Her actions personally challenged me more than my workout did.

Let’s stop dragging our heels like children and instead simply show Jesus to others by choosing forgiveness.