Editor’s Note: This poem was written by Rick Wormeli. It was inspired by Floris UMC’s sermon series on forgiveness titled, “Unburdened.”
Dad, can you forgive me?
- For the times I cursed your authority when I knew you were so wrong, but later found how right you were?
- For the times of struggle when I did not turn to you, yet that was the very thing you wanted most—to be needed?
Mom, can you forgive me?
- For the times I misinterpreted your encouragement of me as disappointment in me?
- For the times I judged you as old and out of touch, when really you were showing me the compassion and courage this world needs most?
Brother, can you forgive me?
- For the times I didn’t come over and help rebuild your roof after the storm, or sit quietly and listen to you without judgment as you shared the things that frightened you?
- For the times that I rebuffed your attempts to give me money when I needed it because I was too ashamed?
- And for the time I let you take the blame for that hole in the kitchen ceiling when it was I who did it all along?
Sister, can you forgive me?
- For the times I didn’t have your back when you confronted tormentors in school because I was terrified myself?
- For the times I told you that you would never achieve your dreams in schools of engineering because I was knew my own inadequacies and didn’t want to be left behind?
- When I judged you harshly for marrying someone outside of our family’s race and religion?
Stranger, can you forgive me?
- For the times I was too busy to lend a hand?
- For the times I assumed you intended harm grounded merely on your skin color?
- For the times I told a friend your life’s story and political views as if I knew you based only on hearing your Pakistani accent from afar?
Lord, can you forgive me?
- For the times I did not claim you as my savior because others might judge me if they knew?
- For the times I wouldn’t let go of grudges and it poisoned relationships with family and friends?
- For the times I thought I could do it on my own and didn’t need you?
Harriet Beecher Stowe quietly declared: “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” And so, from each and all of these comes the reply:
“Yes. You are forgiven.”
In Grace, I am revealed.