Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm Sorry

Do you remember being told that as a child? I do. When I was a little girl my Mom or Dad would firmly say, "Say 'I'm sorry.'" Often times, I would cross my chubby little arms, pooch my lip and spit the words out.



As I grew up, it was even harder to say "I am sorry." My parents taught me a lesson that I never realized I would need so much. It wasn't very often in my childhood that did things to make others angry with me. I had many struggles, but I hated knowing that someone was upset with me. However, on occasions I did things or said things that offended people. When it came out that someone was upset with me, my parents didn't coddle me and tell me that I didn't do anything wrong. Many parents these days do their children a great disservice by assuming that their children rarely if ever do wrong. They assume that the other person was in the wrong. That isn't always the case. Children do sin. All kids do. Don't assume they are perfect.

Sorry... I'll stop preaching. Wink wink. So, my Daddy would quote Ephesians 4:26 about not letting the sun go down on your anger and Proverbs 15:1 about how a soft answer turns away anger. He told me that someone has to take the high road. Someone has to do the right thing. That someone was supposed to be me.

"Remember who you are, Katy. You are a child of God, held to a higher standard."

With my heart pounding, I would go and say to the one I had offended, "I am sorry." Just those three words... no "buts." No "if you had just not done this or that." Just three words. It burned my throat to say them, but something magical always happened.... something spiritual. The other person was disarmed. Even if I had done nothing wrong, saying sorry gave them no reason to still be angry with me. They would look into my face and their eyes would search the air for something to say.

Saying "I am sorry" is not popular these days. We live in a culture where TV shows encourage us to "be yourself and don't be sorry." We are led like mules to believe that it's okay to be angry and hurt towards one another.

Let me tell you something, brothers and sisters in Christ; that may be good enough for the lost and dying, but it isn't good enough for me and you. How can a Christian -a part of the body of Christ -deliberately hold a grudge? Moreover, how can one who claims to know Jesus refuse to forgive when they have been forgiven the greatest debt of all?

I was put in this situation recently. I was accused of things I hadn't done and torn down personally through a message. I wanted to send a message back and "let 'em have it." It wasn't fair. You have been there too. I could feel the veins in my head bulging as I popped my fingers for the long typing task ahead.

"Remember who you are, Katy. You are a child of God, held to a higher standard."

Oh man! Daddy's words cut to the quick. So, contrary to my sinful soul's nagging voice, I chose to follow Daddy's advice. I messaged the person back and apologized. This lady doesn't seem to have a relationship with Jesus, so I told her that I did not want anything I had done or said, even unknowingly, to hinder showing her the love that Jesus so freely gave me. The lady messaged me back and she was completely different. She apologized for being harsh and from there I was able to use it as an opportunity to share Jesus' mercy and love. She shared that she had been burned by past experiences with Christians and a lot of her problem with me was carried over from being hurt by other Christians in her past.

I was amazed at how my apologizing could have completely saved her view of God and the Church. If I had come back using my "right" to stand up for myself, she would have never seen Jesus in me. I was humbled by how close I came to missing this opportunity.

This world is looking for a reason to be angry. People are sensitive and get hurt. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you should be like your Master. He came before his tormentors silent. When you ask for forgiveness and act on it even when they don't deserve it, they have nothing to do but stumble in the love you show. And when someone is wrong to you and you forgive them even when they never asked, you are giving them another chance like Jesus gave you. "Forgive 70 times 7," Jesus said. I asked Daddy once if I could stop forgiving after doing it 490 times (70x7). Daddy said, "No, because after that many times, it will be a way of life and you will see all of the benefits it brings."

Don't buy this world's lies about not forgiving or asking for forgiveness. Christian, remember who you are. We are the ONLY hope this world has. If they are going to see true love from anyone, it has to be us!

Just say it. Say, "I am sorry" and mean it.

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.... Daniel 9:9