When it became clear to me I wanted to reconnect with Tracey in a real way I knew I had to apologize to her. I told her I was sorry for the way things happened in our marriage before, but saying “I’m sorry” just wasn’t enough.
I remember telling this guy I worked with about trying to get back together with Tracey but she didn’t seem to be completely open to it. I said, “I’ve told her I was sorry.” Then he said something that changed my life forever. He said, “Have you asked her to forgive you?” Whoa! It may seem strange to you, but I don’t think I ever thought about the difference between saying “I’m sorry” and asking forgiveness. I took this question to be straight from God himself and the wheels were turning.
Asking Tracey to forgive me was exactly what I needed to do. The problem I had was I did not know specifically what to ask forgiveness for there were so many things. I remember asking God to tell me what it was and he did. It was like seeing a dam made of rocks. I could spend the rest of my life removing each and every rock saying, “Will you forgive me for this? What about this? And this?” Or I could find the one that would open the way for the flood of forgiveness to cover them all.
This is where it gets tough for me. For a long time I couldn’t tell this story at all but now I feel free to, so here goes. I had the opportunity to meet Tracey’s biological Father before we were married and he gave me his approval to marry her. A few years later he passed away, and Tracey and I went to his funeral. Well, as I have told many times I had a huge drug and alcohol problem at the time, so I was high. We were at his funeral and I could hardly stay awake. In fact, instead of me being there for Tracey to lean on, she was the one helping me. This isn’t what a good, loving and supportive husband is supposed to do. God showed me this is it. This is what I had to ask her to forgive me for.
You have to remember we were divorced at this time so she had her own apartment. I went over there, and I can remember it like it was yesterday. She was in her bedroom blow-drying her hair. I went up to her and said, “I have to ask you something.” She said, “Okay.” I said, “Will you forgive me for ….” I couldn’t say it. I couldn’t get the words to come out, and I just started to cry. As I looked at her tears welled up in her eyes too, and she said, “For my Dad’s funeral.” She said what I couldn’t, and it was an amazing turning point in our lives. God had shown me the very thing that hurt her the most. I couldn’t even say it but I didn’t have to because she completed my sentence for me. Apparently she had subconsciously been carrying this hurt around the whole time and now, supernaturally, it was washed away by forgiveness. If you were to ask Tracey she would tell you something supernatural happened that day. Once the forgiveness for that specific offense was dealt with everything else faded. We never bring the past up as ammo against one another, but she does take great pleasure in telling people “My first husband was a jerk!”, and I would have to agree.
Saying your sorry and asking for forgiveness really is two very different things. When you tell someone your sorry there really isn’t any risk involved. Saying you’re sorry is making a statement that requires no response but asking forgiveness, on the other hand, puts you at their mercy. You are asking a question and the answer may not be favorable. There is that chance they will say no. It is a humbling experience because you are placing the outcome completely in the other person’s hands. I’m thankful I discovered the difference between the two. This isn’t an easy thing to tell, but I pray that God will use this testimony to give light and life to others.
Written by Louie