Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life's Lesson #2: Ask Forgiveness--Even If They Did Greater Injury

Second installment of the "lesser appreciated virtues".

#2 Ask Forgiveness- Even if They Did the Greater Injury to You

Young teenage girls have the ability to be more malicious and just plain mean than any other group of people (not counting criminals or terrorists, of course). Maybe you've been victim to the pack mentality before. I think most girls have been at one time. It is a vicious world in which you either perpetrate meanness or are the recipient of it. Unless of course you are more mature than the rest of the pack and can rise above all that. Unfortunately, I was not one of those amazing people.

I was the victim. All the time. From 5th grade to 7th grade, that was me. I don't need to tell you about the emotional damage these years wailed on my self esteem. I don't need to tell you about how little confidence I had or how I hid it with all my success in academics, music, and sports. By the time I had a group of friends in church who were so trendy and cool... and yet considered me part of the group, I was pretty much ready to follow their lead. Whatever it took to remain in good graces. Unfortunately, they chose another girl in our Young Women's class-- someone who just the year before had been 1 of 3 whom I invited to spend the night for my birthday-- to mercilessly mock. Not 'in-your-face' kind of teasing, but the oblique and yet oh-so-obvious whispering about her while she was in the same room with us, gossiping about her clothes or hair or whatever, and making snide remarks under our breaths whenever she answered a question. I joined in. Better her than me. That was my thinking. Where was loyalty? Where were courage and honor? Not anywhere to be found.

It wore on me. It did. But I kept at it. One night, after a particularly brutal mutual activity in which we sort of trailed her through the church (subtly, of course) snickering the whole time... I got an unexpected phone call. It was her.
I thought she was going to tell me off. I knew I had it coming. But I walled up my feelings and snuffed out my conscience by somehow convincing myself she deserved it and I was justified. I prepared myself for some snotty comebacks.

and I was completely caught off guard when she began to apologize.

She said she was sorry for whatever she had done to upset or hurt us, specifically me, and asked for forgiveness. You might think that I was woman enough to apologize back at this point. But to my everlasting shame, I added insult to injury by firing off those snotty comments and telling her she deserved every bit of it. I could tell she was crying, but that only made me feel worse so I had to act worse to bury those feelings. I kept up my haughtiness until she humbly apologized once more and our conversation ended. That was that. I was a monster.

But that humble request for forgiveness when absolutely none was merited snuck through my facade of sarcasm and pricked my numbed conscience back to life. I am glad to say I began to repent. It was my first real experience with godly sorrow and wading through the process to real forgiveness. I ended up having to break bonds with that group of girls... I did bear the consequences for that... but years later that humble girl would become my very best friend. Jennie Smith. Now a Hubbard. I respect her so much for the example she has always shown me. She's always been a cut above the rest of us, always already emulating the qualities to which I'm aspiring. And it all started when she was Christlike enough to ask my forgiveness... even when I had committed the injury.


  1. I have found this to be much more prevalent in girls than boys. I think boys just don't care quite as much. Kindness is truly a life lesson that has to be learned...sometimes through tough experiences. No matter how many times parents tell their kids to be kind, they reach a point where peer acceptance trumps parent nagging and as a parent, you hope against hope that they can wade their way through the choices they have to make about how they treat people.

  2. I love this story. You are a good writer.

  3. This was a wonderful post. You explained teenage girls perfectly and the lessons learned are huge. Amazing story. What an unforgettable experience.

  4. I hope never to go back to middle school!

  5. You must've done a seriously good job of repenting b/c the Elisa I came to know wasn't like that. Thanks for the great example.