Mohon Maaf Lahir Batin

I learned a lot about the Indonesian culture while living there.

One of the most enlightening times was during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. During this month (for those of you who are unfamiliar) Muslims don’t eat from sun up to sun down but instead focus on prayer and spirituality. (Most don’t even drink water during this time.)

The month concludes with Lebaran or Idul Fitri, a huge all-night celebration. This day is considered the mark of a new beginning or “new year”.

Along with this celebration is a ritual (?) that really makes me think and consider my actions and relationships. They say the following phrase to each other:

Mohon maaf lahir batin…Which translates, roughly, to, “Please forgive me for anything I may have done wrong in the past.”

I like it…a chance to make things right and to start over. An opportunity for each person to be intentional in asking for forgiveness and reconciling with those closest to him/her.

A couple days ago I talked about refocusing my thoughts and words, and I’m praying that it happens. I know it won’t be overnight, but I can work on little things.

And one thing I know I can do is apologize.

I know I get dramatic, heated, and opinionated…and while I believe there can be times when those are ok, I also know I exhibit those characteristics far too often…and crush the toes of others as I spout my thoughts and emotions.

So, Mohon maaf lahir batin. Please forgive me if I’ve said or done anything to offend you either through this blog or otherwise. It was not my intention.

I’m being shaped, pounded, and molded right now…and like it or not, I know it’s needed if I’m to be the person God created me to be.

Thanks for being part of the journey.

I truly am grateful for each of you.



  1. Hi,
    My name is Yoan and I’m Indonesian moslem.

    Bumped into your blog while I’m looking for what appropriate way to tell “maaf lahir batin” to my western friends :)

    Thank you very much for your post, which also show the beautiful of Islam during Ramadhan. Minor correction, we also don’t drink, not having sex (not even talk about it), and even not talking in a bad language. Hahaha, interesting right?

    Well, hope you enjoy my country!

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