Leah - palmer, Alaska
Entered on March 23, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: forgiveness
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Forgiveness is an act of mercy that everyone has experienced. At age five, forgiveness meant no time-out after spilling the jar of apple sauce. When we were twelve, it was a big deal to be forgiven after receiving a 68% on a math test. Today, as young adults, forgiveness tends to come at a higher price. With experience and knowledge under our belts, we understand our actions and their consequences. Our crimes are less innocent, and therefore aren’t as simply forgiven. The fact that we know better, however, doesn’t necessarily stop us from making bad decisions.

There was an unpleasant time, not long ago, when I had trouble telling the truth. Almost every day I would conjure up a new lie about insignificant matters. These little lies began piling up and eventually turned into a pathological problem. I would hear myself rattling off false statements, but wouldn’t correct myself. This dishonest habit continued for months until my conscience finally kicked in.

During my junior year of high school, I spent a great deal of time with my boyfriend. The two of us were notorious to everyone except my parents for our trouble-making mischief. In their presence, I was able to maneuver around the truth, and so they remained oblivious of our scandals. I knew my lies were wrong, but deflecting punishment seemed more important at the time. Although I was torn, I chose to follow the more appealing path without punishment.

As my dishonest behavior continued, the secrets kept building in quantity and increasing in severity. I was stepping into dangerous territory and risking my well-being in order to keep a clean slate. The matters grew, and at last I began to reflect on my lies. I felt terrible about my immorality, but couldn’t come clean without spilling all my forbidden secrets. I had dug myself a hole too deep to escape.

Eventually, my dishonest burdens became too heavy to handle. I concluded that the deception I was committing in order to keep from reprimand was beyond wrong, and needed to stop. With a humble attitude, I came forward and gave my family and friends an account of my misdemeanors. I awaited their reactions, prepared for the worst.

I knew I didn’t deserve their forgiveness; if anything I deserved a good beating. However, that is not what my loved ones had in mind. They considered the damage I had caused myself and decided it was punishment enough. I was informed of exactly how selfish and hurtful my actions had been, but regardless, they still forgave me.

My lies and secrets inflicted grief and suffering on myself and others. I cannot image the pain I would feel knowing that my actions had forever destroyed my relationships with friends and family. I had come so close to spoiling my own life, but their forgiveness had saved me from ruin. I am and will be forever be grateful to them. This is I believe, in a life of happiness, forgiveness is the key.