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Pardon Me!

Recently, we visited the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco. It was a weekday and during the lunch hour, which meant there were people everywhere. Every. Where. So, naturally, there were long lines, lots of waiting and practically no tables available. This also meant that people would suddenly stop and stand in walkways while trying to decide which restaurant they would choose as their final eating destination. And with so many people in one area, it was inevitable that everyone would experience being pushed (or pushing), getting bumped into (or bumping) or that awkward, dancing shuffle that two people do when trying to get around one another.

'Excuse me.'

'Pardon me.'

'My Bad'


'No problem.'

'That's ok.'

These were the common phrases, often accompanied by smiles or giggles, that I heard (or said) during our visit. The quick exchanges of apologies and forgiveness seemed "normal" and second-nature.

It is considered a common courtesy to offer an apology to (or accept an apology from) a complete stranger -- even if your actions are unintentional or harmless -- simply because you do not want an opportunity to arise for them to take offense. In a matter of nanoseconds, we forgive and are forgiven; and when it happens again, we don't think twice about doing it again...and again. It is almost expected for us to apologize, forgive and move on -- without thought or consideration. And those who do chose to "blow up" or "make a scene" in public are considered as rude or irrational.

So why is it that we have an innate ability to apologize and forgive complete strangers, yet, we don't offer the same courtesy to people with whom we have history or proven relationships? Rather than exercise immediate forgiveness and offer sincere apologies, we choose to take offense, hold grudges or allow unforgiveness the opportunity to fester.

In this WHOAment, I am reminded of the proverb that says "charity begins at home", which means that our first responsibility (after God) is to consider the needs of our own family and friends. A stranger should receive the same courtesy that we extend to our family and friends - not the other way around. So this means that you should have no problem forgiving or asking for forgiveness from a stranger because this the exact same treatment you extend to family and friends.

So the next time you are out in a crowded area and offer an apology or extend forgiveness to a stranger, make sure you have also done that "at home".



*If you liked this WHOAment, you may also enjoy reading "I [don't] Hate Them!"

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*After reading this WHOAment, did you identify someone that you need to forgive? Do it today!

*After reading this WHOAment, did you identify someone to whom you need to apologize? Do it today!


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