How Do You Say, “I’m Sorry?”

Jul 1, 2015 by


Jerolyn recently wrote about Timing and Tone for Conflict Resolution. She did a great job and we actually heard back from different ones on this…Thanks!

Here is something of a throwback, but still relevant today, that ties in with us dealing with, and addressing conflict in relationships. It is really about our responsibility and ownership in relationships that can help us bring about resolution and health. What do you think? Would love your stories and thoughts on this…A couple of words that often seem out of date…Repentance and Restitution.

These two words seem a bit antiquated according to our current thinking. They seem to be out of touch, out of date, and simply not relative to us, today by so many false standards, especially in our “relativistic” thinking. Some old school thinking isn’t bad, in fact it is quite the opposite. It is very healthy and good.

Others have done a good job of teaching the principle to, “Keep short accounts.” In other words, make peace with others. Take care of the relationship and make things right. If you need to apologize, do so. If you need to ask for forgiveness do it soon and make the relationship right. If you need to forgive someone who you believe has hurt you in some manner, offer that forgiveness in your heart even if they don’t ask and you don’t get to utter those words to them. Don’t let it build up.

I have had to learn the hard lesson at times when God challenges me to be obedient to say “I’m sorry, please forgive me, or I need to make that wrong right.”

Repentance is to be sincerely sorry or remorseful for what you have said or done. It is being willing to not only ask for forgiveness but to restore the relationship and turn away from that wrong word, action, or attitude conveyed or displayed. Sincere repentance is sorry for what you have done and sincerely seeking to restore a right(eous) life.

Several months ago now I was on my way to a conference and God used a book I was reading to speak to me. He brought two names to my mind that I was to ask forgiveness about my part in causing a rift in the relationship. One was easy and the person not only forgave but also asked for forgiveness for their part. We continued our strong friendship and this bond only made it stronger. The second one was a different matter entirely. God and I argued for awhile on this one. I was not in the wrong on that relationship. I was the one wronged and had done everything possible to deal with the relationship in the proper way. Yes, once again, I lost the argument with God. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still believe I was not the one in the wrong in the relationship, but God asked me to ask for forgiveness for whatever my part may have been in causing the relationship rift. I did. I am thankful for being obedient to God. In the book of Romans in the Bible it says, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” I am still trying.

For what do you need to ask for repentance and forgiveness?

Restitution is an “old school” term these days. No one wants to seem to make “it” right.

I remember having to leave a note on a car when I accidentally dented or dinged a car in the parking lot, or broke a window playing ball when growing up. I had to make right the wrong I had done and even offer to make it right, restitution, including making payment to fix the problem I had caused.

We are to not only apologize but if needed we should make whatever is needed right to correct the situation. If I have broken something I need to repair or replace it. Now I know this is so archaic in our thinking but really is it? How can we live at peace with everyone as far as it depends on us if we are not willing to own up to our mistakes, wrongs, or sins and do our part to make restitution?

What do we need to do in the areas of repentance and restitution to do our part in living life with keeping short accounts and living at peace with all as much as possible?

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 NLT)

~ Jim and Jerolyn


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