Although I was not sure that his teacher felt she needed it, I felt my ten-year-old did and so I suggested that he apologize to her.
“I don’t like apologizing,” Kent objected, his head down. “It feels too stupid.”
“It’s supposed to feel stupid. When you feel guilty and ashamed at the same time it can’t feel comfortable, not when you see that you were wrong.” I could have added that a sincere apology has a unique effect to self-pride—it elevates while it humbles. But I hoped he would find this out for himself.
When he left the house I was not at all sure he was convinced that he should apologize. I had not said he had to.
That evening when he came home, however, I knew instantly that he had.
“I talked to her and said I was sorry.”
“Yes.” A light toss of his head and a quick grin on his face told me that he was a bit embarrassed, but happy.
“See?” I couldn’t help but add. The look he gave me as he sailed out of the room said he got the message.
It has been said that the three most difficult words in the English language are, “I am sorry.” It hurts to apologize and we want to put it off, temporarily or even permanently.
But the law God has built within us makes this procedure a boomerang. We succeed in losing the one thing we desperately try to preserve; self-esteem.
The habitual compounding of this sort of behavior often succeeds in another direction. It makes us more prone to actions or words for which we need to apologize.
How many good people have nursed a grudge for years, and how many good churches have been stunted in growth and blessing because someone has been too proud ask for forgiveness, or even to go half way?
These three little words become amazingly comfortable when spoken in genuine sincerity. More than one revival has found its seeds in a simple, “I am sorry.”
Even here the Scriptural principle holds. “It is more blessed to give than to receive!”
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man has a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Colossians 3:13
By Muriel Hanson
From: Honey and Salt, Wine Press Publishing
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Photo credit: Pierre Metivier. https://www.flickr.com/photos/feuilllu/