By Dr. Mark Creech
I don’t want to whine, but I’ve had a tremendous amount of pressure lately on both a personal and professional level. I’ve largely been able to avoid anxiety, nevertheless, a number of critical matters have weighed heavy on me.
Feeling the frustration of seemingly unresolvable circumstances, I snapped at my server at the restaurant where my wife and I were eating recently. I didn’t make a scene, but I was unkind and unnecessarily harsh when he wasn’t able to give me what I ordered.
He later came back to our table to check on us. I reached out to him and called him by name. “Jeremy,” I said. “Please forgive me for speaking so sharply to you a moment ago. I was wrong. You didn’t deserve that kind of treatment. Thank you for trying to help me and provide my order. I was just in a bad mood and that’s no good excuse for acting that way. Please forgive me.” He quickly responded. “That’s alright, sir.”
Later, Jeremy came back to the table to check on us again. But this time he had something he wanted to say. He said, “Sir, I have been waiting tables for years. I’ve seen some really mean customers in my time, but you are the first one to ever apologize. He then outstretched his hand to shake mine, saying, “Thank you, it means the world to me.”
I don’t know why my offering of an apology meant so much to Jeremy. Maybe it’s because he’s been going through a hard time too. Maybe he’s often been treated badly and had lost faith in humanity. I can only speculate. But one thing I do know, my repentance and seeking forgiveness and his willingness to give it lifted the pall of darkness over the both of us.
No matter the situation, that’s what repentance and forgiveness does – it changes the entire atmosphere. It throws light and healing on the hurt. It dispels the darkness.
And, oh yeah, not to be ostentatious, but I also gave Jeremy a good tip to demonstrate my sincerity.