You’re about to read a chapter from “Ramblings From the Shower | Faith, Integrity and Other Simple Yet Slippery Issues“
“But God, I wasn’t wrong, was I? Why do I have to say I’m sorry?”
Apologies hurt. Admitting we’ve been wrong about something stings. We think that shows weakness and we certainly don’t want to appear weak.
Thing is, apologies hurt briefly. The unapologized hurts forever.
My first marriage ended in divorce, the result of his multiple affairs. I hurt horribly. Then, I married a wonderful man with two sons. I made my only-child son a middle-child son – if anyone can warp a kid, that’s me.
The thing is, I came into this relationship as a woman hurt on so many levels and was thrust into motherhood times three. My mind told me that it was my job to shape these boys into men, but my heart won the battle and simply hung onto rules and laws and you’d better not break even the smallest one. A modern-day Pharisee. That was me.
My eldest stepson is an amazing guy. The first time I met him; he sat on the kitchen counter and told me jokes. I laughed. They were good. His dad told me later that he’d said that he liked me, because I laughed at his jokes. What that poor fellow went through when his father and I married! The woman who laughed at his jokes became a shrewish lawgiver with little mercy.
My son struggled with his new position in the family. I was his mom, but he now had to “share” me, and he didn’t really like that. In my mind, I simply had to show favor to the other two, because they were so ravaged by things their own mother had done. And thus I ravaged the emotions of my own son.
The youngest lived with us the longest and has seen the changes in me, but he’s seen the worst, too. In time, I stopped the lawgiving. No, I changed the lawgiving. I realized the love God has for me. I let Him come in and heal places that I’d closed the door on, hoping to never have to deal with again. And in that healing, God had changed me.
Recently, as I was praying for that eldest boy, now a 30-year-old husband, father and foreman on a job he’s thrived in for almost 10 years, God spoke to my heart, telling me I had to apologize to him.
I kinda argued with God, because it had been so long, and it would bring up old wounds and bad memories and all those excuses we’re so good at coming up with. You know what? God didn’t budge. So, I shared with a few good friends what my “assignment” was. That was for accountability. I’d hear from them, asking me what I’d done to complete my assignment, and I knew they were praying for both me and him.
Finally, on Thanksgiving Day of 2008, I pulled him outside from the rest of the family and read the letter I’d written him. I cried a ton of tears, and he listened quietly to every word. He gave me forgiveness that I needed and we talked. Like adults. About adult and family things. Like we’ve never done before. God’s up to something with that boy – err man.
That’s my story. What’s yours? Have you done something that was so mean and so incredibly stupid that it has destroyed a relationship completely? Or was it something completely unintentional that has changed a relationship, made it something less than it once was?
Yep. Do it. Again, the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:23-24 come to mind: “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” (Emphasis mine.)
Apologies seem to mean a lot in God’s definition of relationship.
Don’t know what it was that you did? Ask God to tell you, He knows. And if you’re not patient enough to wait on God, ask that person. Go to them in an attitude of true humility and sorrow, and ask them what you’ve done to harm them, to break their heart. They might not tell you, but they will see your heart, if you’re honest with them.
And if they do tell you, don’t go getting all puffed up and defensive and proceed to tell them how you had the right to do that thing. The idea is that you’re seeking restoration of the relationship with that person.
Oh, here’s a news flash. You may never get that relationship back. The hurt may be more than that person can handle, but you really do need to make that apology. And here’s an idea – next time, let’s don’t wait so confounded long before we make it.