On the eve of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, we are to ask others for forgiveness for offenses committed in the past year. “If we cannot forgive others,” said the Hassidic Master Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, “how can we expect G-d to forgive us?”
But it occurred to me that the effort not to be offensive can lead to not saying much and not doing much. I have been guiltier of that than of doing the wrong thing. Not only this last year, but most of my life.
The down side of only saying nice things is that sooner or later no one can take what you say as having any weight. No writer wants to end their days having said the equivalent of noting.
So rather than asking for your forgiveness for what I may have said or done that caused offense, I ask for forgiveness for all I should have done, could have done, but didn’t.
The times I should have stepped in to help.
The times I should have spoken up, even if some people wouldn’t like it.
The times I could have stepped out of my comfort zone, but I hid in my safe space instead.
Please forgive me.