Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. — James 5:16
Forgiveness is hard enough to grant, let alone to request. Taking responsibility for your mistakes and asking for mercy from the person you've offended are not easy things to do. It is especially difficult when you didn't know you'd hurt the person in the first place and they had to approach you.
Most people would rather make excuses for their behavior than own up to it. However, asking for forgiveness is one of the most powerful testimonies of your faith that you can demonstrate. When we ask for forgiveness, we acknowledge we have trampled the dignity of another human being. We admit that we hurt God as well by sinning against a person He deeply loves. In asking for forgiveness, we humble and throw ourselves on mercy—the mercy of the person we've hurt and our Father's mercy.
It is a gift to be forgiven. Sometimes forgiveness is withheld—a "reasonable" human reaction to sin but painful nonetheless. Even if the person in question refuses to forgive you, you must do all you can to make peace, and then leave it in the Father's hands—He can bring peace where peace seems impossible. Take heart: if you have confessed your sin to the Father, He has forgiven you and will never hold that sin against you.
Father, help me to be humble and ask for forgiveness from those whom I sin against. Thank You for Your forgiveness that frees me to admit my weakness and foolishness to others. Amen.
image via @m.gracecortez