I’ve come to find that when mistakes are made in life most people are easier on themselves than they are other people. Several years ago while I was out of town my wife was backing out of the garage and for one reason or another became distracted. I’m sure her technique was flawless, unfortunately she forgot to open the garage door before trying to exit the garage.
Later that night when arriving after a long business trip I noticed the damaged garage door it was pretty obvious what had happened. Sure I was upset, after all, I spend my days traveling around the country trying to get my young business off of the ground and she’s here being careless by damaging both the garage door and the car. After being gone all week the last thing I wanted to do was walk in and have an argument. That’s when I had a revelation… If I would have done the same thing I would have probably said “Oops” and let myself off the hook. So why make a big deal out of it when it could have just as easily happened to me? “After all”, I thought, “I’m sure the act of backing into the garage door was in no way related to the level of respect she had for the work I was doing and my being gone so much probably had something to do with her being distracted since she’s left to take care of everything at home.” The best thing I could do was to let her off the hook just like I would have done for myself.
In our relationships with others applying the “Off The Hook” philosophy can help us pick our battles and potentially save us from creating hurt or hard feelings with our friends and loved ones. If we love ourselves enough to give ourselves grace when we screw up, can’t we show the same amount of forgiveness towards our loved ones and let them off the hook when they make mistakes?