Let’s face it, people can be annoying and those closest to us are usually the ones who are able to “push our buttons” the most. People say and do things everyday that can hurt us, make us angry or simply annoy us. When this happens if we are not careful we can end up saying or doing things which are hurtful and unkind back. If we are not walking in forgiveness and self control we lash out in retaliation and bad temper, usually causing an argument.
This scenario leaves us with a choice. Do we hold our stance that we are always right and it was the other person’s fault, or do we act in humility and say we are sorry for how we may have reacted because of our own lack of patience, love and self control?
Saying “I’m sorry” is one of hardest things any human can do. It is an acknowledgement of our own failure in a relationship with another person. Yet it is one of the most critical skills to develop in order to have good relationships with others and, even more importantly, in our relationship with God.
In fact, God actually views saying sorry and walking in forgiveness as highly important. He says, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you [in other words, you have hurt or offended your brother], leave your gift. … First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
When we are genuinely sorry, we are remorseful for our own actions. A genuine apology is not simply, “I’m sorry that you got upset.” A statement like that doesn’t take personal responsibility. Instead, we might say, “I am sorry that my words hurt you.” This puts the action we are apologising for clearly in our court.
The other side of apologizing, is to ask the question is this something that I should be apologising for? There will be instances when people will get upset or offended at us for something that was the right thing for us to do, or perhaps even our responsibility. Instead of confusing what saying sorry really means, give a gentle and loving response instead of apologising unnecessarily. Needless apologies only lead to feelings of resentment on our part, when it is really wisdom and a gentle answer that is actually needed.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:1-2)
Keeping peace in our lives is so important to our relationships and the state of our homes, and communities. Choosing to give a loving and kind response will diffuse many an argument, as will saying sorry if we need to. God knows what makes our lives work well, and He consistently encourages us in His word to live at peace with one another, to forgive quickly, and to not let the sun go down on our anger. How often do we complicate our lives through our own deliberate self-centeredness and pride?
Today ask yourself what sort of relationships and life do you want to have? If you want to live in peace and enjoy freedom from strife then ask God to soften your heart and teach you how to live peacefully and humbly with others. God promises that when we follow His ways, He will cause us to “live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings, and in undisturbed resting places.” (Isaiah 32:18)
“Do not let the sun set upon your anger, and do not give the devil a foothold”. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
Prayer: Lord please help me to say sorry when I need to, so that I may live at peace with those around me. In Jesus name Amen.