Thirteen or so years ago someone sent me an anonymous letter that was pretty bold and extremely unkind. At the time it bothered me for a few days, maybe even weeks. My gut gave me a pretty good idea of who had written it to me but I didn't have any proof. Ultimately, I struggled with the hurt that it brought to me for a few weeks and with a lot of prayer, forgot about it.
Last week I got a phone call from the woman who wrote it to me. I was a little surprised when I saw her number on my caller id. I have not seen her or really had an opportunity to visit with her in years and although she is a member of my church, she is not part of my local congregation or any of the neighboring congregations.
She was very meek and humble and kind when she called. She said that she was embarrassed that this had taken her so long to do because she had known for years that she should reach out to me and apologize but she had just never followed through with it until now. She admitted that it was even a little bit of a job for her to find my phone number.
But she apologized for writing that letter to me thirteen years ago.
I immediately forgave her and told her she was absolved of anything and that I had no hard feelings at all for her. I hope it felt as good for her to ask forgiveness and be forgiven as it did for me to forgive her. -Like I said, I had forgotten about it for the most part.
But it got me thinking what a HUGE Christlike thing that was for her to do. It would have been so easy for her to just ask Heavenly Father for forgiveness and call it good. She probably will not see me anytime in the near future. That would have been the easy road, to be sure. But she didn't. She took the much harder path. She researched how to get a hold of me, sweated and stressed for probably weeks over how to go about it, completely swallowed her pride, and called me.
I have had this happen to me twice before in my life. One time in college. A random girl called me and said that I didn't know her but she had some said some unkind things about me and my friend behind my back and she had realized it wasn't true or kind so she wanted to ask my forgiveness.
Another time a friend who had suddenly become cold and distant and had moved away several years before, sent an email to me (years after she had moved out of state) and asked for my forgiveness as she had been pulled into what she called a "hateful group of women" and had been influenced by them to think badly of me. (If I'm being honest, I could sense that something was different but I never knew what happened). She said that she had felt inspired that none of the things that she had believed about me were true and that she should reach out to me and apologize. I could tell it was a cathartic moment for her.
It has just made me think a great deal lately about the beauty and peace that comes from recognizing our errors and truly taking the hard road to gain forgiveness. I have reflected on my own life a little more lately because of their examples, wondering if there was anyone I needed to reach out to and seek forgiveness from.
I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that shows us the way to peace. I am grateful for these great ladies who have been examples to me of humbling ourselves and trying to become more like our Savior. Most especially, I am grateful for a Savior who provided a way for me to be forgiven and worthy to return to live with Him.