“Ask a Priest: What If a Pal Ignored My Apology?”

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Q: I have said an unkind word to a friend because I overthink things. I was thinking that maybe he is very nice because he wants something or he wants to manipulate me. My trauma was triggered (without him knowing the real reason why) and I displaced my rude behavior on him. I made an impulse decision and unfriended him. After a few days, when I realized my mistake, I apologized, but the message is still ignored. I already received the sacrament of reconciliation but sometimes feel sad that I shouldn’t have acted that way with my friend. The thought of still failing God and neighbor over and over again makes me feel hopeless. And why can’t humans forgive just like Jesus? One mistake committed and the rest of your goodness will be forgotten. Thank you. – V.C.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s good that you recognized your mistake and went to confession.

If your friend doesn’t respond, maybe you could just accept that for now. You can embrace that cross in reparation for your own impulsiveness.

This might be a learning moment for you.

Our actions have consequences. Giving in to our passions or impulses of the moment can have a negative and lasting impact on people.

That’s one reason why it’s crucial that we learn to control ourselves. We can learn this kind of discipline by a solid life of prayer, the sacraments, and constant acts of charity and mortification.

Mortification means denying ourselves things – cooler showers, less dessert, simpler clothes and gadgets, even gossip. By this kind of self-denial we can learn self-discipline. We can become masters of our emotions.

And if people are slow to forgive, well, that is the human condition. That doesn’t keep you from being Christ-like with them, however. You can forgive them … just as Jesus would.

A book that might help you is Seeking First the Kingdom. I hope some of this helps.

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  1. oooh boy is this person’s dilemma SO COMMON in our society of boomers, gen. x, and millennials … OH MY.

    It is true, our U.S. nation is divided. It began way back when Eve said to Adam, ‘eat the apple’ and we can be LIKE GOD. (The God that is ALL KNOWING, ALL POWERFUL, that is) Not the God of self sacrifice, humility, and meekness) The ‘garden of eden’ two has always been, but . . .with understanding for what is currently… this EDEN group dominated 1965 and beyond. YES, running into even ONE of this faith lacking type . . . can altar our views of GOOD humanity in general… and we become ‘suspicious’ . . . not wanting to be hurt again.
    Forgive yourself! Enjoy life.

    This questioner got wounded and so it goes…when wounded… SNAP and wound another. As Father said the first forgiveness starts with God. (God equals LOVE) The reconciliation HAS BEGUN… as you offer up your wound to HE who went thru extreme fleshly woundedness . . . your friend may have been NICE because of long time friendship… OR perhaps there was ‘some other motives’ also there. MAYBE that is why the friend is staying away… just a bit of ‘guilt’ for impure motive for niceness. No one likes to be ‘called out’ or ‘found out’ (even a bit) Every person carries a bit of weakness of love (of God) called concupiscence. (a bit of weakness left since the original sin, even with Baptism that brought us to being united again with God’s ONLY Son.)

    FEW HAVE THE AGAPE type of ‘love’ . . . there is always a bit of self interest to every NICE person… (It is
    human nature, BUT discern carefully) Not mentioned is the age, maturity wise, of this questioner, AND the friend that was wounded by words. Also ‘how long was this friendship?’ Friendship that knows other well ‘TAKES YE-EEE-ARS.’

    TIME heals all wounds… yours and the wound of this friend. WITH GOD. So, pick up the cross . . . maybe if you and your friend have another MUTUAL friend … this other can speak for you… explaining reason for your snapping and explaining your deep sorrow. Or maybe this 3rd friend can arrange for a ‘group dinner’ . . . the 3 of you, or attend a same interest event (sports, or whatever) Take it one step at a time… if this was a true
    friendship… TIME WILL HEAL THE WOUND… ‘pick up the cross’ and pray for the friend to understand.

    A TRUE FRIEND IS FOREVER… GOOD AND BAD ‘feelings’ aside. . . give it time. (if not a sport event tickets for 3… pay for the mutual friend of your friend to take your friend) AND SL-OOOOWLY the wound of words will heal.

  2. MUTUAL mature ‘friendship’ . . . starts with the understanding that human kind has both strengths and weaknesses. Mature spiritual friendships see the weakness of the human friendship, and works with God
    to ‘raise up’ the friend.’ This is done by communicating ‘feelings’ . . . and the communicating aka sharing
    is done because of TRUST. UNFORTUNATELY, such communication and sharing ‘back and forth’ in conversation has been replaced with words as: See a counselor…

    Today’s friendships in many cases are no different than that ‘teen’ high school variety… “parties, fun,
    joke joke jokes.

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