Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive. Luke 17:4 NLT
“I want to apologize for disrupting your class.”
Teaching middle schoolers brings new experiences each day. I’m fortunate to teach in a school where normally the worse behavior problem we have concerns students talking in class when they should not. And this young man had. He’s a great kid, but he merely needed to learn there are times when you have to be quiet. I had endured more than I should have and finally assigned him and his talking partner lunch and learn.
The next morning—and the day of his sentence—he approached me with his apology. He didn’t ask me to let him off the hook, but took it like a man. I thanked him for his apology. I now have greater respect for him. I have hopes he will turn into a fine adult who will make a difference in his world. Whether his parents told him to apologize or not, I’m not sure. But he did, and that’s what’s important.
Although Jesus addressed the matter of forgiveness, apologizing still dominated the scene. Someone said it often because they had offended often. And no matter how frequently they apologized, Jesus said forgiveness was in order.
Apologizing isn’t easy. I’m sure it wasn’t for my student. It takes a great deal of humility to admit we’re wrong. While rearing my children, several occasions cropped up when I had to say “I’m sorry” for something I did or said. I hope it made me a better parent in their eyes.
Apologies make for good relationships. None of us are perfect. Mistakes are inevitable. Apologizing when we’ve wronged or offended someone establishes healthy relationships. Doing so causes us to exercise the practice of forgiveness, which Jesus speaks highly of. Not doing so leads to emotional and physical dilemmas.
Apologizing builds character by causing us to dress in humility. Apologizing when I’m wrong helps me remember I’m no better than anyone else. God created each individual. This, in turn, helps to build healthy self-esteem. Pride endangers and, according to the Bible, should be avoided. We are what we are only because of God’s grace.
Shifting the blame to someone or something else to avoid apologizing is easier than saying you’re sorry—but not healthier.
Learn to say you’re sorry. You’ll enjoy healthier living, and the light of your life will shine brighter.
Tweetable: Have you learned to say, "I'm sorry?"
Prayer: Father, make us humble so we’ll find it easy to apologize when we’ve wronged You and others.