How hard do you find it to apologize when you have done wrong to someone? Perhaps you have become angry and said something to a loved one that was simply mean and wrong. Perhaps you have grown lazy and negligent of an important duty that was yours in life as a husband or wife or father or mother. Whatever the wrong we might have done, don’t we all know something of the process that takes place in our lives after that wrong is done?
Have you ever started to become aware of the fact that maybe you had done wrong, but then you simply hardened yourself a bit more in an attempt to justify the wrong, or minimize it and explain it away? Perhaps you simply try to ignore it and hope that it just goes away.
What is the result of this approach to your wrong? Does it usually work out pretty well? I don’t know about you, but I find that I end up pretty miserable for as long as I treat my wrongs this way. I am not happy, nor content. I am irritable and unfriendly. There remains a barrier between myself and the other party. Further wrongs are likely to be done, and life is not full of joy as I want it to be.
But what happens when I a humble myself and recognize my wrong openly and frankly to whomever I have wronged? It doesn’t always work out perfectly, of course, but many times I find that the other party is ready to forgive me. I find that my spirit is relieved of the oppressive burden of knowing that I am not being honest about my wrongs. I can now return to life with the right attitude. There is more peace and joy for me in everything. Life is simply better again.
Why do we so often refuse to do this? Why do we resist the simple act of apologizing to whomever we have wronged? The answer to that probably lies often in that key phrase “humble myself.” I don’t want to admit to others that I am wrong, that I am not the perfect man, that I have not acted rightly. What foolish pride! We know that these things are true. We would not really claim perfection in our lives. We confess that we make mistakes and don’t do right in everything. But when it comes down to actually acknowledging it in some particular instance, we don’t want to do so. And for the sake of that foolish pride, we suffer much. And others whom we love suffer much, too.
Why will you suffer long for such an unnecessary cause (not to mention ignoble)? We would all be so much happier if we would be more honest in recognizing our wrongs and apologizing. It would do a world of good in our relationships. And I am not talking about a mere mumbling of some empty words, “I’m sorry.” You know when you are sincerely and truly apologizing and when you are just saying the words to try to smooth things over or appear to be doing good. And the other person probably knows, too. That won’t work. How many times have you ever said you were sorry in a loud and frustrated tone? You probably went on right after that to justify yourself for the very thing you were apologizing for.
You know what a true and sincere apology looks and feels like. And that has real power to help our relationships. It is good for you and for everyone around you. Let’s learn to practice that grace.