Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just KNOW you are right. Perhaps you have talked it over with a friend (or several), or even talked to yourself about it. Maybe you sought wise counsel from your husband or even hunted through the Word to justify your side of things. You have presented yourself as right, you have dug your heels down in the ground, and convinced yourself that the other person was in the wrong.
You have done such a good job in convincing everyone, including yourself, that you were so right…. and then it happened.
You found out you were, in fact, wrong.
Now what do you do?
You are probably feeling a bit shocked and overwhelmed, and uncertain of how to handle the next step. Pride would want us to ignore it and sweep it under the carpet. “What’s done, is done”, Pride whispers in your ear. You could convince yourself that this is now a learning experience, and move forward vowing to never allow that to happen again. After all, you learned your lesson.
But, is that enough?
What about that person you wronged? The person you slandered. The person you gossiped about. The person you hurt. The person who deserves to hear an apology.
Admitting we are wrong is tough.
Growing up my Grandmother was not one to apologize. If she was wrong, she had reason to be wrong. I remember, as a child, I was known to grab my grandmother’s sewing scissors for art projects. I loved those scissors. They were strong and sharp. In fact, one of the first things I bought when I learned to sew was a pair of scissors just like hers. One day, my grandmother was looking for her scissors and couldn’t find them. She accused me of taking them, but I was diligent in my defense that I hadn’t. I explained that I hadn’t even been in the closet, I didn’t bring any crafts with me that day, and I had no use for them. She didn’t believe me. Convinced I took them and was careless with them, I was grounded to the couch. I would have to stay there until I was willing to admit that I took them, remembered where they were, and apologized. Despite my tear stained cheeks, she was adamant she was right. I was confined to the couch to “think about what I did”.
Several hours would pass, when my sister would arrive home (she lived with my grandmother). As she came in the house, she handed my grandmother the scissors and apologized for not putting them back when she was done with them. Of course, being a young child, I chimed in “I told you I didn’t take them.”. My grandmother turned, looked me in the eye and said “If you hadn’t taken them in the past, I would have not had a reason to blame you. You can get up from the couch.”.
No apology. No admission of wrong. Instead I was still to blame for simply giving her reason to suspect me.
This is probably where my desire for justice comes from. I want the truth to be known, I want blame to fall where it should, I hate when someone is falsely accused or set up to take the fall, I want fairness, I want the same honesty from others as I am willing to give. In those moments when justice is not being delivered, it takes me back to my childhood… sitting on that couch.
When we allow pride to take over our heart and mind, and convince ourselves that we are in the right… it can be nearly impossible to admit when we are wrong. We brush it under the carpet, hoping that everyone will forget. We try to fix it through buying back the relationship through gifts or doing good deeds. Or, we walk away leaving it unsettled; letting the broken relation stay broken vs. swallow our pride to fix it.
It’s hard to apologize, because first it requires our full recognition that we did something wrong. Pride will hinder us from true reconciliation.
Scripture tells us that if we have any argument with our brother, we are to leave our offering at the altar, find them and reconcile with them FIRST. (Matthew 5:24) How many times have you walked into church, put your tithing check in the offering basket and worshiped God… when your heart was still hard toward your brother or sister in Christ?
Scripture is not merely suggesting this is a good idea or wise decision. No, in fact, God is telling us to do it before we can commune with him. In other words, this issue has become sin & it stands between us and God.
Examine your relationships… is there hurt, unforgiveness, or unfinished business? It’s time to do what God has commanded of us, to be a united body. It begins with forgiveness.
Pray about it, first. Ask God to reveal the areas in which you have sinned against your brother or sister. Ask for God to strip away the anger and pride. Ask Him to give you the strength you need to approach that person, and that they will have a softened heart & willingness to hear you. Pray for reconciliation.
Then take the first step. A simple email or text of “I’m sorry” can be just the kindling needed to get that fire started. You may find that simple statement alone is sufficient, or that they have already forgiven you… and have been waiting for you to forgive yourself & be ready to heal the relationship.
Bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.