I wish I were better at this. I either want to demand the person forgive on my timetable, using the words I wrote for them in my head, or I want to just ignore the whole thing and hope the person, what, didn't notice?
I have learned to start with prayer and proceed with great care, lest I cause even more pain. And as much as I struggle with the whole "patience" thing, this is definitely a place where patience is a highly valuable trait. It is such a temptation to make my forgiveness all about me.
So here is my prayer acknowledging to God first the mess I have created, and then my longing for God to stand in the middle of my mess and coach me through trying to make amends, learn from the mistakes, and never EVER forget that having received mercy, I have an absolute responsibility to offer mercy to those who wrong me.
Oh God, Perfect, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Everywhere Present God. You know completely how badly I have sinned against my friend (brother, child, spouse, et al). I'm afraid I have ruined everything beyond repair. I want to make things right. Please help me. Let me speak no words that will cause more harm. Give me courage to speak any words that might allow me to ask for forgiveness. Give me patience to wait for Your time and to give my beloved one all the time they need for their part of our healing. Sustain me as I wait upon You and move tenderly as You guide. Help me learn from this to be more forgiving as I remember how I am longing for forgiveness from my beloved. Help me grow in patience and in my trust in You. Thank you for being bigger than my problems and always willing to travel with me as I stumble along trying to get in step with Your Ways. AMEN
Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13