Kids love those self-serve ice cream machines, don’t they? All those decadent toppings, plus nuts, sprinkles, candies, sauces, whipped cream. We can indulge or over indulge. Have dessert your way is their empowering draw to our tummy. Autonomy and self-service rules!
Let’s say you’ve had a misunderstanding with a friend. Feelings legitimately trampled by betrayal and inflicted pain. Trust and rapport are broken down while walls of defense and self-protection go back up. You feel me? No feel good sugar rush at this moment.
The uncomfortable chasm between the two of you feels as wide as the Grand Canyon, your feelings jagged cliffs.
We’ve all been there. We will all be there again, because that’s life. We’re human.
Whether you are the aggrieved party to whom the apology is due – or – the offending party — doesn’t matter because at one time or another, we’ve been both.
Having traversed this terrain recently, here’s an observation that may help restore that friendship and allow your apology to penetrate the thick stone walls defending their heart from further insult: don’t give an incomplete apology just to placate your own guilt feelings.
While self-service plays good in the food service industry, it doesn’t in relationships.
Tender hearted Christians usually feel bad emotionally when they’ve hurt someone. The Holy Spirit prods us to deal with it by making it right again. Our conscience will bother us until that conversation occurs where we talk it over, lay our feelings out on the table, tell our side of the story and listen to theirs. This guilt process is known as conviction. Some people describe it as their conscience eating at them. It is a good thing, especially if we heed it.
But to give an incomplete apology with the motive of assuaging our own guilt is self-serving, serving only to soothe our own guilty hearts. It lacks consideration for the primary objective: express empathy for the emotional pain of the aggrieved one. Our motive should be to ease their pain by acknowledging it, acknowledge our role inflicting it and then sincerely expressing remorse for the actions responsible for imposing it. Self must be assigned the back seat allowing Spirit to drive.
God’s Kingdom ways expect brethren to walk together unified and in harmony. We can’t always avoid conflict, but if we desire true reconciliation and forgiveness to flow, then we must seek to understand one another. We know there are always two sides to every issue. We know that listening is key, as well as speaking the truth in love.
Let’s remember that Matthew 5:23 in commanding reconciliation (restoring friendship or harmony after an argument or disagreement), does not tell us how to accomplish it. I pray that this blog helps you word your apologies so they are accepted readily, bearing balm to the wounded soul, causing the other party willingness to grant you the merciful forgiveness that is key to restoring broken trust and rapport.
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny (Matthew 5:21-26 NKJV).
Call to Action: Have you ever flubbed an apology? Did it ever get amended? I’m interested in your experiences, so feel free to share. Thanks for stopping in to read today!
Christian inspirational writer of truth that makes darkness tremble. Author of Lion in My Garden devotional.