Mistakes. We have all made one or two or a few tens in our lives. No one is perfect. Whether it was an intentional or unintentional act or word spoken, we have caused a spouse, a friend, a relative, a work colleague some pain, grief or hurt which has led to a relationship conflict.Relationships are great for releasing stress but conflicts in them raises another form of stress altogether which when not managed can lead to break ups, divorce, quitting ones job or moving out of a family home. I remember one Sunday when our Pastor said how difficult some married couples found it to say a meaningful , 'I am sorry'. He said, "Their mouth starts mouthing 'I am sooo..' when rather other expletives come out'. They just can't say it. And it's back to either Cold War or verbal exchanges.
Why should you say ' I am sorry' at all? Do you find it easy apologizing when you know you have done someone wrong? Some years back, I have been in situations where I know I have done wrong by something I said or done and I know I must apologize but stubbornness and a bit of pride holds me back from admitting my mistake. Thank God for being born again and i now know that pride is foolish and only brings shame. (When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2 NKJV) ) The last thing I want to feel is ashamed so I'd rather be the bigger person, humble myself and apologize.
Many people feel apologizing is a sign of weakness and would rather tell themselves they are in the right. Apologizing is not easy at all. It's a humbling and soul-baring act. It takes a person with strong moral values, courage and a positive spirit to come out and admit they are wrong.
Importance of saying ' I am sorry' in relationships
* Restores Relationships - relationships are built on trust and all kinds of ingredients which some would call an investment. So when conflicts arise, there is the tendency for things like built up trust to be broken. Saying you are sorry communicates that your behavior wasn't intended as a personal affront. This lets the offended person know that he should feel safe with you now and in the future. I was reading 'Love and Respect' by Dr Eggerichs and picked up this interesting statement he made...."We easily see what is done to us. Before we see what we are doing to our mate" quote from Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.
* Heals hurts and hearts - a heartfelt apology is like a miracle drug which can heal old hurts and hearts broken many years ago. I have been hurt by friends over the years especially in relationships and only time made it easier to go on. But I never forgot the hurt. Yet somehow when that person returns after many years and says , 'I am sorry for all I did and ask for your forgiveness', I feel an unexplainable peace come into my heart and I am so much better!
* Reduced Conflict - when you are able to apologize for your unkind words, harsh words, thoughtless act it goes to reduce conflicts in the relationship. It gives you the opportunity to talk things over and enables both of you to know each other better so that you would know they aren't being intentionally unkind. They would know that you really care about their feelings and regret hurt their feelings. You would then be more knowledgeable about what offending behavior your friend or spouse hates so you don't do it.
* Happiness is King - any relationship is happier when there is no one harboring a grudge or two. You will be happier in your spirit knowing that your offense has been forgiven. A relationship which has forgiveness and humility in it is a happier and healthier one.
Many marriages have broken down just because one person couldn't apologize for their wrongdoing or negative words spoken. Countries have gone to war because of one uttering words or breaking a promise. Friendships ended because of pride and arrogance.
What if you apologize and the other person doesn't forgive you? Believe it or not there are some who would rather hold on to the hurt to have something to complain about and having someone to despise. They would rather point fingers at you and tell the world what you did than forgive you. Or make things worse by pointing out what you did instead of forgiving you just to make you feel bad. That's how the world is.
So what shouldn't you do? Don't keep harassing them with calls and gifts pleading and groveling. You can't force people to forgive you for unkind words, mistakes and thoughtless acts.
So what should you do? LET IT GO AND MOVE ON! After all you have done the right thing and apologized so now the ball is in their court. He or she who isn't accepting your apology is the one with a problem. They can live the rest of their lives with that decision. You will continue with yours with a clear conscience knowing that you tried. What they forget is that the world is a tiny place and its round, they will offend someone one day and will find out how it feels to be rejected.
This has been my goodwill message to you my special reader! May the season bring good tidings of joy and peace whereby relationships are restored, families are healed and laughter reigns in every home and society. Merry Christmas everybody!! I love you all! Especially YOU! :)
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV