You Cannot Give What You Don’t Have

Whilst reading this blog by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio, I was reminded of an email conversation with a good friend last January.  It was about recovering from a hurt caused by somebody.  At some point, I told her that perhaps, it would be easier to heal if this somebody would apologise (that was why this other blog by Rica also struck me), to which my friend replied “wag mo na antaying mag-sorry siya sa’yo…una, baka mafrustrate ka and remember Jesus died for you when we were still sinners…”


I must say that one of the things that used to surprise me is when people wouldn’t apologise even when I had told them that they had hurt me.  Instead of receiving an apology, I was blamed for having been sensitive or over-reactive or because they had thought okay lang sa akin (to which I had wanted to reply: kung totoong kaibigan kita, alam mo kung ano ang ok at hindi ok sa akin) or told that I had no right to be hurt because it wasn’t their intention to hurt me (as if there is always a direct correlation between one’s intention and how that intention is expressed through words or actions, which are many times the ones that become offensive).  And I realised that the surprise over the shift of the blame (ako na yung nasaktan, ako pa yung nasisi) was because of false expectations – I have learned (and continue to learn) to humble myself and say sorry if I hurt someone even if it wasn’t my intention to do so (sino ba naman ang gusto makasakit consciously?) simply because I hurt him no matter what my intention was.  It was all about shifting the focus on the person I hurt instead of myself – so others should be able to do the same, but truthfully, can I or should I expect other people to have the same mindset as I?

I cannot and should not because as a friend always reminds me, having no expectation from others will spare me from a lot of hurt and disappointment.  And the bigger lesson is that I cannot expect others to understand being accountable for the consequences of their actions (and not of their intentions) and being humble and receiving mercy because it took a lot for me also to get to this place – I am only able to forgive in spite of myself or the absence of an apology because I myself was forgiven when I humbled myself before a mighty, merciful, and loving God who in spite of my wickedness decided to let His Son die on the cross so I can have eternal life with Him in heaven – a love so great I cannot fathom no matter how hard I try to wrap my brain around it.  I can humble myself before someone I hurt because I know there is mercy waiting if not from him, from God.  I can extend mercy to people who offended me because I myself received mercy.  I can love (and a sign of that is being accountable to someone I hurt because love is not arrogant) because I was loved first.  Indeed, you cannot give what you do not have.



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