Saying You’re Sorry

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 I want to talk to you for a few moments this morning about forgiveness.  Not just extending it towards others, but asking for it from others.

We are living in a “Me” society.  It’s a world that says “keep moving….and watch out…because I’m right behind you.”  We are focused on ourselves.  Our jobs…..our children and their events…..our financial status….our possessions…..our churches…..and ourselves.Nessa edit 

 

Now, it’s only reasonable to assume that we would do this, to some extent.  Scripture says to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” So obviously God wants us to have care and love for ourselves. 

 

But here’s where the rubber meets the road.  There are times when we want to hold onto anger and bitterness.  Perhaps someone has hurt you in a way that seems like you just can’t get over it.  Maybe they lied to you, or cheated you out of something.  Perhaps they told a secret that was devastating, or spread rumors about you or your family.  Whatever it is, you can’t forgive. 

 

But maybe it’s not that at all. 

Maybe someone is hurt by you and your actions.  Ah….yes….it’s hard to think about that, isn’t it?  Maybe you were the one who said hurtful things, or just didn’t understand why your oversensitive friend/sister/neighbor/co-worker got hurt. 

 

Here’s where I’m stepping in today….into your heart and mind.  God says in Romans 12:18if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  And sometimes what that really encounters is those marvelous words that you extend to someone else, “I’m so sorry.” 

 

Maybe you don’t feel like that person deserves it.  Maybe you think they’re wrong or they’re motives are childish.  Perhaps you don’t even understand what is wrong with them that they are hurt. 

 

Nevertheless, they are hurt and you can’t change it.  Or can you?  You can genuinely say “I’m so sorry I hurt you.”  “I’m so sorry that this happened and that my actions were hurtful.  Please forgive me.” 

Saying you are sorry means that you are shutting the off switch button to your pride, and admitting that right or wrong, you have offended.

 

Over the holidays, my three year old grandson was acting naughty.  My daughter told him to “say you’re sorry.”  He stomped around, grumbled, and then finally gave in saying, a begrudging, and very soft “Sorry.”  Pride kept him from fully delivering a completely genuine apology. 

 

But in today’s world, we’ve forgotten the art of saying we’re sorry.  We actually seem to do better saying, “I forgive you.” 

 

You know why?  Because it’s pridePride tells you that you couldn’t possibly be wrong.  Pride tells you that you never did anything, why should you apologize?  And pride keeps you from acting the way God intends you to act…..like a Christ follower. 

 

When I was a little girl, I visited my grandparents in northern Minnesota.  My mother told me that we were going to visit my great uncle in the nursing home.  I’d never even heard of him, let alone knew he was in a nursing home in that same town. 

 

We walked into his room and I was in utter shock.  There, sitting in a chair looking out the window, was an exact replica of my very own grandfather.  They looked exactly the same.  It scared me! 

 

I spoke with him, as his eyes lit up for having visitors.  And I asked him that question….the one no one wants to answer…..but I was a child, so formalities were out the window…and fear was scarce. 

 

“Why don’t you have anything to do with my grandpa?  You look just like him,” I asked. 

 

I’ll never, ever, ever forget what he said.  It stayed with me all these years.  He answered me with these words, “I just can’t seem to remember why your grandpa and I don’t speak.  It was so very long ago.  We just fought.  That’s all I know.” 

 

I wonder what would have happened had Uncle Julius just picked up the phone and said, “I’m sorry.” 

 

There have been many times, and you could say the same, that people have wounded me.  Sometimes, very deeply.  And in those times, those same people have said, “You hurt me.”  I have offered up my “I’m sorry” only to receive nothing in response.  No apologies.  No “I’m so wrong” or “sorry” or even “I’m sad I hurt you.”  But we must move on.  We must forgive and go on, or we become a victim that is trapped in the prison of unforgiveness and resentment. 

 

It’s the start of a brand New Year.  Do you have someone today who really needs you to say, “I’m sorry” ?  Remember, even if you don’t think you did a thing wrong, they are still hurting.  Can you overcome pride and take the high road?  Can you say, “I’m sorry that I hurt you.”?  Because in doing that, each time you do it, I believe that you grow in your maturity in Christ. I believe that your step will be a bit lighter, and that your self- realization that you are not perfect, and your pride will be put into its proper place.  And in so doing, you will be on the road to becoming the BEST version of who God intended you to be……Christ like, sincerely apologetic, and humbled.

I’m sorry.  Some of the most lovely words ever spoken.