We all get it wrong sometimes don’t we. If you could be awarded points for getting it wrong I’d have a PhD by now and you could all fall at my feet. This idea, of course, is also sinful. It’s a human condition to dig one’s heels in when you get it wrong and someone points it out. In my younger days I was a devil for this, when I think of my poor colleagues at that time, how they put up with me I will never understand.

I learned a great lesson from a Confirmation catechetical trainer in the mid 80s, I agreed to help a friend who was in charge of Confirmation in his parish and in order to do this I was asked to attend a course run by the Christian Education Centre at Tooting Bec. Having arrived we were asked to go into one room and sign in, within minutes we were then asked to sign in in a different room. Tetchy boy here said in a loud, condescending voice “but you’ve just said to go to……” the chap from the CEC replied “I know, I am so sorry, my error”.

I wasn’t ready for that, I was ready for a justification and possibly a fight. It was a seminal moment, I could see this chap actually was sorry, he was regretful of what he had done and the forgiveness of all of us was instant.

From that day forward I have always sought forgiveness when I have got something wrong. When I know I have caused offence I have looked to build bridges, whether they are accepted or not I do not push, what must be known is my contrition.

I know I slip back from time to time, mentioning no names but someone I am married to has said to me on occasions “It doesn’t count if you say ‘I’m sorry, but….’” which of course is true. There is not a person in the world who does not have mitigating circumstances. And I have tried using this as well, blaming the car, cat, kids, bank, umbrella, ladder, tiredness, even bereavements of my younger days but no matter what the circumstances, a wrong is a wrong.

And if you catch me in the wrong, tell me, I’ll I’ll put it right, no excuses.

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