I start countless blogs and often postpone them til I feel like I should share them. Then other times ….I feel that God calls me to share a blog I had no intention of writing. So…apparently some of you need to hear this today as much as God feels I need to say it. =)
Two words that can move mountains. However,…It’s what we say or do after these words that can make or break us.
I grew up in a family where we rarely just say I’m sorry. It was always “I’m sorry….but you shouldn’t have had your foot there.” or “I’m sorry…..but if you didn’t make me so mad”.
In my opinion, there is an unnrighteous name for it called “justification”. You try to “justify” your reasoning for doing what you did. But…is that really justice for the person that you hurt?
I spent the first few years of my marriage (ok….8….=)) struggling with this notion of “I’m sorry”. It was the perfect storm: mix a husband who is open with this feelings; very confrontational, quick to admit fault and take action, with a wife who justifies all her wrong actions ; is extremely emotional but doesn’t discuss her feelings.
Confrontation, discussion, justification, lack of resolution, crying wife, mad husband……
and repeat….daily, weekly, monthly…..you get the picture….
we both felt like hamsters in our own wheels…….running the race as couples, but going nowhere.
I have this vivid memory of my husband saying this to me during one of our arguments:
” You are such a child. Why can’t you just see how this hurts me? Why can’t you just say “I’m sorry?” Why is that so hard for you?”
Because…that’s how I’ve done it for….YEARS. My husband would come to realize that I had baggage. I had ways of handling my own fears of being “imperfect” and this was one of them. I didn’t want to upset him….and seeing him point out an area where I caused the hurt was too much.
That’s the “beauty” of justification….you get to “hide” behind the truth that something hurtful was not your fault. If what I’m saying resonates with you…you need to free yourself from the notion that you can do no wrong…it’s a hold that is enslaving you. True love is true freedom. Freedom to be yourself. The screwed-up but lovable you!
I believe that we pass on our strengths and our weaknesses to our children. So, as much as this lesson is for me and you…it’s for our children. We want them to be loving and have the fullness of freedom. Here are four little “mini-steps” that I work out in my mind:
- Pray for a sincere heart.
How many times have we attempted to get into a conversation to apologize and found ourselves thinking, “I don’t want to apologize to you anyway.” Pray that the Lord shows you the error of your ways and that you can enter the conversation being sincere.
- Say “I’m sorry”.
Just those two words. When I’m talking to my kids, I like to hold them while I apologize. I want them to feel how sorry I am and how much I love them. My hubs…I tend to hug him around the waist when I apologize.
- Acknowledge that it was your fault (if it was or if it is necessary)
Sometimes skipping to #4 is fine. However, sometimes you need to acknowledge your fault in a situation. “I’m sorry. It was all my fault. Mommy totally forgot about your baseball practice today.”
- Acknowledge the feelings of the person that you hurt
“I am sorry that when I didn’t call you that you felt like I didn’t care.” “ I’m sorry that when I was late picking you up that you felt all alone.” Not.…”well, I’m sorry but you try and get 5 kids out of the house”…um…nope…not at all. But…we’ve all said it and been there.
- Make amends.
“I’m sorry that I missed your game. Maybe you and I could go out for ice cream and you can tell me all about it.” “I’m sorry that i promised to call you and I forgot. Could we try and reconnect tonight or tomorrow? What is a good time for you?”
My prayer is that all of us spend more time apologizing for our actions then letting yourselves be “enslaved” to our own pride. I know that hearing my children’s earnest apologies to each other really warms my heart and let’s me know that they will not have the same difficulties that I had in my marriage. That I can help break the hamster wheel for my kids.