Feb 212014
 

im-sorryI have run out of words, so this is a “best of” TGIF…

It is the second most powerful phrase in our language.

It is one of the first phrases a child learns when developing social skills.

 

It carries great potential for healing when spoken from the heart.

It is supposed to come naturally for Christians.

‘I’m sorry”.

My own son, from his earliest years, has understood the full equation, “I’m sorry, please forgive me”.

Sadly, once you achieve a measure of  authority, the phrase sticks in your throat like a fish bone.

Thousands of people who have experienced some sort of organizational abuse of authority have been held in the grip of that abuse because people are too important in their own eyes to say two simple words.

“I’m sorry”.

They should forgive unilaterally, you object…let it go and move on.

Perhaps…but that’s not the way we’re wired and that’s not how God set up the social intercourse of the church.

To be offended without the offender seeking forgiveness creates an open cycle of pain that takes an act of God to heal… when two words spoken fitly could have ended the cycle and created health.

The only thing worse is when the offender denies giving any offense at all…

You can easily spot those who have been denied the hearing of those words…they find a way to clean the wound and maintain peace for a season, but inevitably the wound begins to fester and fill with toxins and they either display the frustration and pain or they retreat from the circle to clean the wound anew.

The wound never heals, because the balm is never applied by the ones who hold it.

This principle applies to our personal relationships as well…days, months, years, of strife can be ended with the speaking of two simple words.

I have played both parts in my life, the offender and the offended, and the only freedom I have ever found was held in those two words, given and received.

You see, the most powerful phrase in our tongue is “I love you”…but some will only believe those words if they hear “I’m sorry” first.

Today, I’m going to seek out those who need to hear from me.

Go and do likewise.

Make your own application…

  14 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. I forgot to open comments and thought the article sucked because of it…
    Thank you, G!

  2. WOW. Speechless besides WOW. Thank you. VERY powerful. Thank you. Amen

  3. Thank you, Paige!

  4. Good article! I have struggled much with unforgiveness and sadness over lack of hearing “I’m sorry” from other Christians who have hurt me. That phrase is indeed very powerfull!

  5. This is one of the best TGIF’s . We all need to hear the truth of this.

    “I have played both parts in my life, the offender and the offended, and the only freedom I have ever found was held in those two words, given and received.”

    Amen! Thank you, Michael.

  6. Dont take this the wrong way and it is just me. This is also emotional so with that caveat. After becoming a Christian I almost always felt utterly ashamed and weak when apologizing except to elders or other Christians higher up the bean poll. To be honest being apologized too was even harder. Apologies, not to be compared to apologetics at times seem to be compromising and giving in. Again this is just a reflection of some of my memories. Thanks

  7. Saying I ‘m sorry is always difficult.Pride it’s aways the pride that gets in the the way of true healing .

  8. Yeah, I remember this one. Still true!

  9. Jimmy Johns, for those that don’t know, is a chain of submarine sandwich shops. Their stores are filled with signs, and one gives the three steps of a proper apology.

    Proper Apologies Have Three Parts

    1. What I did was wrong.

    2. I feel badly that I hurt you.

    3. How can I make this better?

    It’s just commercial decor, but it does capture the idea. Compare this to when some politician (or preacher) gets caught with, literally, his pants down. Check out their apology. It is usually I’m so sorry. Sorry I got caught.

    And does it seem it is more often the guys that need to apologize rather than the gals. Where’s that equality we all hear about?

  10. Here’s an apology from an IFB school to it’s alumni posted this week: http://www.tntemple.edu/news-blog/statement-of-reconciliation

    I’m interested to hear how this apology strikes others? Is it sufficient? If you had the ear of the school’s president, what would you say in response?

  11. Michael wrote, “To be offended without the offender seeking forgiveness creates an open cycle of pain that takes an act of God to heal… when two words spoken fitly could have ended the cycle and created health.”

    Once, a long time ago, I was seeking to make things right with a relative, thinking I could just talk to the offending party and get them to see their error and the damage caused. I could not understand why it was so difficult after trying for years to make any headway on the subject. Finally, I made a conscious decision to go all out in this endeavor and drove 10 hours to have the most ernest, direct conversation face to face. After it proved totally frustrating, I noticed a magnet on the person’s refrigerator. It read, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”

    That person continues to this day, some 30 years later, to pay the price of that decision to not apologize. The cost has become far more than any of us could have ever imagined.

  12. J.U., I love the Jimmy John’s sign!

  13. You are right about the effectiveness of saying “I’m sorry” and for minor issues it can be all that’s needed. But when people’s lives have been ripped apart by the behaviour of others, saying those words can be used as a cheap way of avoiding the hard work of healing and reconciliation. A way to escape responsibility for your actions.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of that sort of ‘sorry’ and was berated for not just accepting it and pretending that it made everything ok. Angrily judged for wanting to work through the issues to actually restore relationship.

    I would suggest that our actions must reflect our words or they prove worthless.

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