Have you ever apologized to someone and…The. Words. Just. Fell. Flat? Sometimes we feel it keenly, that our apology doesn’t make things right. Painful.
We strive to teach our kids this practice too: to apologize. But often, the forced apology doesn’t really make things right; it fuels the argument instead of resolving it. “I apologize for throwing your Legos…but if you hadn’t broken my doll…”
We want our children to get along with others and make right the wrongs they do, so we teach them:
“Apologize to her!”
“Say sorry to your brother. You owe him an apology.”
“Tell your sister that you’re sorry.”
But our children get in the same conflicts again and again. We do too. We wonder, can we ever learn to get along? So many times people resent saying sorry or won’t accept an apology from someone else. We are often stingy with our forgiveness.
Have you ever wondered why saying sorry, or apologizing comes up short sometimes? Why do we live with broken relationships?
Apology. The word origin is “a speech in one’s own defense.” We can’t restore harmony with others when we are more interested in being right, than being in right relationship.
Sorry. It describes our feelings, it means distressed, grieved, and full of sorrow. The Bible calls this a “contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17). And while remorse is certainly an important part of reconciling with others, focusing on our own feelings is not enough. Telling someone you’re sorry starts, and ends, with YOU, which doesn’t necessarily make amends or bridge the gap between another heart and yours.
To make matters worse, being forced (by a well-meaning mother) to say something when it isn’t true (that you feel sorry when you really still feel angry) can harden your heart, rather than soften it.
God’s Word calls us to a higher standard, but do we even know what that looks like?
What is written on our hearts and what we crave for our children, our marriages, our friendships, and in the Body of Christ is not sorrow or apology, but reconciliation. This is God’s design for us, that we would live in reconciliation with Him and with others (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).
Reconciliation is the fruit of the gospel; it is what Christ died to bring us. Reconciliation is a process which humbles us, conforming us to the image of Christ. In my book, Prodigal Confessions: 10 Principles That Lead Us Back to the Father, we see that even as we wander away from Him, God stands ready to:
- make our losses into His victory
- use our sin to accomplish our sanctification
- exchange our wrongs for His Righteousness
Learn more about HOW to walk in reconciliation with God and others, the steps to take to find closure and resolve conflict, and how God uses everything, even our mistakes, to make us holy.
Holiness is not some unachievable goal. It just means being set apart for God. Holiness is about walking in relationship with God. His nearness is good for us. Sometimes this walk is two steps forward and one step back, but even then, we are making progress and we are not walking alone.
Prodigal Confessions, is available exclusively on Amazon.com. This book unpacks the scriptures to offer a practical, encouraging approach to Christian living, including simple, effective tools for Biblical parenting.