Say You’re Sorry

KBDADWhen I was growing up, if we three siblings mistreated each other, my Dad would make us tell one another we were sorry and that we loved each other — whether we meant it or not. I know this, because I didn’t always mean what I said. (Sorry, Dad. And, I mean it.) I remember one time my brother and I got tickled because I didn’t pause between the two statements. My apology came out “I’m sorry I love you.”   Although I may not have always meant what I said, the significance of the statements stuck with me. We confess and forgive each other because we love each other.

 

Confess. Forgive. Both are personal, humble acts.

Confess Forgive. Both are deeper than Excuse.

Confess. Forgive. Both can restore relationships.

If you have ever held a grudge against someone, then you know that the anger or resentment harms that particular relationship. What you may not want to accept is the fact that the grudge harms you as well.  Unforgiveness  — yes, let’s call a grudge by its given name — is a weight that burdens and harms the carrier.  It seems unfair that when harm or ill will is cast on me, I then have to choose to forgive.  ( Whoa. CHOOSE to forgive.)  There is not a human being who has not needed to forgive or to receive forgiveness; we all are imperfect — yes, let’s call imperfection by its given name — sin.  (Romans 3:23) This imperfection put a rift in the relationship God desires to have with each person.

As humans, we tend to categorize sins into sort-of-bad, bad, really bad. Bad is bad. What you might need forgiveness for may be lesser in your eyes than what someone else needs to have forgiven, but that does not take away the fact that forgiveness needs to happen. Once we forgive, we probably still won’t be able to forget. Dwelling on the memory of someone’s offense or our own mistake, can create the need to forgive again, and again. You may have to forgive someone who is not sorry. You may have to accept an apology that was never given.

Often, we can find ourselves holding a grudge against God because He allowed something to happen in our lives that we don’t like. We are shallow and childish enough to believe He owes us only good things, forgetting that life in general is filled with both good and bad. God’s love doesn’t fluctuate like circumstances. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Sometimes the most difficult person to forgive may be yourself. If we are not able to accept God’s forgiveness, we will struggle with the burden of our own mistakes. God’s grace is extended to each one of us. He made a way, through the death of Jesus Christ, to have our sins forgiven. Unlike human beings, when God forgives, He forgets and casts our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). That is grace.  That rift I mentioned — God took the initiative to restore it.

So, do you need to say you’re sorry? To someone? To God? Do you need to forgive someone who may or may not have told you they are sorry? Settle the matter. (Isaiah 1:18.)

Unforgiveness can harden a person, Wendell in Among the Crepe Myrtles.

(Picture: Dad, brother, me, before sis was born.)

 

 

 

 

 

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Read the Author’s Notes

I’m a voracious reader.  I have been since middle school. I admit that I read many books more than once — many times over.  My tastes cross several genres from leadership to Jane Austen, but where I nestle in these days and truly relax is in Historical Christian fiction. Hum. Who knows why. Over the last few years, I developed a new habit when I read I book. I began reading the Author’s Notes. What treasures of information I have gained by doing that.

Hidden within those pages of the book I have learned what drove the creation of the story or a character. I have learned something personal about the author. I’ve seen who helped and influenced the author along that particular writing journey. I’ve even learned history.  I’ve been reminded that we are all imperfect human beings who need to give and to receive help, encouragement, forgiveness, laughter, patience, and much more from one another. Despite my personal library, a glimpse inside my being will show everyone the book that feeds my soul — God’s Word, the Bible. The book was written for me personally and for all mankind personally.  Its pages are filled with Author notes that offer treasures, challenges, forgiveness, hope, and peace.

As I read the book, I learn that the author of God’s Word

  • Created me: Psalm 139:13-14 You alone created my inner being. You  knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of that. 
  • Planned for me: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord…”
  • Delights in me: Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord you God will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
  • Hears me: Psalm 17:6 I call you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
  • Seeks me out: Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. 
  • Never sleeps: Psalm 121:3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
  • Knows the number of hairs on my head: Luke 12:7 Indeed, the very hairs of you head are numbered. Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than sparrows.
  • Humbled Himself: Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even the death on a cross. 
  • Died for me: John 3:16 For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life. 
  • Forgives me: I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  • Restores me: I pEter 5:10 …the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
  • Sticks closer than a brother: Proverbs 18:24  …there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  • Directs me: Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. 
  • Understands me: I Samuel 16:7…but Jehovah sees into the heart.
  • Knows me: Psalm 38:9 All my longings be open before you, Lord.

If you’ve never read the book that feeds my soul, I highly recommend it for the first time. For those of us who have the book on our shelves, phones, tablets, and computers, join me in reading it many times over.

Thanks for joining me!