IMAGINE the situation: Christian on Christian: both have committed to Christ in such a way as to love one another as well as to forgive people as much as seventy times seven. But inexplicably they’re at war with each other. The devil’s having a field day. Yet neither is able to let go of the hurt and pain the other has apparently caused. But, of course, the real situation is neither is truly aware how intensely hurt the other person is; we never are; we just live in our own paradise of pain.
There are many conflict situations that are made impossible when they ought never to have been in the first place. Many times there’s a lack of forgiveness because there’s a lack of an apology. Many times people are stuck because a person refuses to own up to a single transgression. Many people cannot move on because of how someone made them feel. And many of us have been on both sides of the ledger — we’ve hurt and been hurt.
If you’re wondering why a Christian person still has something against you, even though they’re supposed to forgive you, ask yourself if you first owe them an apology. It may not be the original issue that matters at all; it might be your behaviour. You may think that there’s absolutely no grounds for an apology. Well, you don’t get to decide. In God’s view of things, it’s their perception that counts, not yours.
There’s a good reason why an apology is due. Bad behaviour quickly transforms a person into a bad person in the perception of the transgressed, simply because of a lack of apology. Because you’re not a bad person there’s the opportunity to address the issue with an appropriate apology so the transgressed person no longer feels aggrieved.
It doesn’t matter what we think. It’s what the other person thinks and feels that’s paramount.
A well timed and executed apology, one that’s heartfelt and sincere, can cover a multitude of sin. A good apology received saves grieving the Holy Spirit in a person who would otherwise be happy to have relationship rapport with us restored.
If an apology will set a person free to forgive us we should not delay the apology. We have an influence over the person that nobody should ever have — the power that grieves the Holy Spirit.
One of the greatest powers for love is the humility that says “sorry.” A person who can say sorry with sincerity is a person whose integrity is undergirded by love beyond themselves. They readily think of others.
It’s good to enjoy a person’s favour. Apology is a way of winning that favour.
Apology is a way of communicating how important a relationship is to us. If we don’t apologise when we need to, we communicate to the other person that we’re not important enough to keep the relationship alive.
When we apologise we communicate something cogent; the relationship means more to us than the issue we’re arguing about. The bigger thing has trumped the smaller thing, which is the way it should always be.
Love transcends single issues up for debate. Love in conflict is expressed through apology, because apology is a commitment that sees love overcome pride.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.