“I’m sorry”. Possibly two of the most powerful words in the English language. Yet, these words are often avoided and easily choked on! Why do we struggle to say these two simple words? “I’m sorry”. Words so powerful it restores relationships. “I’m sorry” swings open the way to forgiveness and grace. “I’m sorry” releases the power of our mistake and grants freedom.
We avoid these two powerful words because we don’t look to the end result. Instead we look to the immediate future and tremble with fear. We grasp on to pride and point to the other person. Stubbornly, we cross our arms refusing to take responsibility. We say no to making a change and transforming.
Saying nothing leads to increased hurt and hardened hearts. The lack of resolution builds like a losing game of Tetris. Remember that? The shapes just keep building until they climb so high there’s no way out. It’s never too late to say I’m sorry. It’s also never too soon.
Three Reasons We Avoid Saying “I’m Sorry”
Saying “I’m sorry” can be scary. We become scared of what others might think. We fear rejection, judgment and conflict. We often think simply avoiding an apology makes the whole thing disappear faster. We may even wonder if the other person even noticed our mistake (they did, by the way). Fear cripples us. Fear keeps us stagnant rather than moving forward.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
Pride keeps us from taking responsibility. Our focus becomes what the other person did to contribute to the problem. We buy into the lie that their mistake was bigger. Then we wait, tight-lipped, demanding an apology. We have to remember that we all fall short and make mistakes. Hanging onto pride only further hardens hearts.
The pride of your heart has deceived you…Obadiah 3a
#3 Taking Responsibility
The refusal to apologize is the same as refusing grace and forgiveness. It’s essentially saying, “I don’t need grace and forgiveness”. The apology is admitting the wrong, but it also claims the need for change. Change is hard. Change is also exciting as new patterns and ways of relating are born. We were created to change and transform day by day. Embrace the new. Release the old.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive
us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
The Big Payoff
Relationships are restored. Hurtful situations are resolved. Saying I’m sorry removes bitterness and hardened hearts. Forgiveness replaces bitterness. It allows grace to flow freely and do it’s work. Conflict is reduced. Remember that Tetris game? Unresolved issues don’t continue to build leading to feelings of hopelessness.
Freedom from sin. We are ultimately freed from the punishment of our sin through Jesus. Yet, we are to continue to seek forgiveness from others and God. Admitting we make mistakes means we know we need a savior and need His abundant grace. So go ahead and utter those two powerful words to someone and feel the burden lift.