What do we get told when we do something wrong to a friend or our brother or sister? We know we should say sorry, right?
Well I was thinkin’ and actually there’s more to it than that.
I started writing this as a devotional for kids, then realized it really should apply to all ages. Kids aren’t the only ones who have to ask for forgiveness, are they?
Think about the last time you did something you had to apologize for. I mean, we’re adults, right? We’re all grown up, this should be easy. We’ve done it, what, a million times…give or take half a mil?
Yet still, when we have to do it, our heart races, we get sweaty palms, nervous butterflies in our stomach. It’s like a first date all over again, only way scarier.
Will the other person accept our apology? Will they forgive us? Will the relationship be restored? Will they yell and scream first? Or is it all over and we just have to go find another group of friends because we can never show our face at the office water cooler again.
I learned this awhile back from someone else who was kind enough to pass it on, and I’ve tried to teach my kids this way of apologizing too.
Here’s the formula:
I did –
It was wrong because –
Next time I’ll –
Will you forgive me?
First confess. Tell the other person exactly what you did that was wrong.
Second, tell them what was harmful about that action…how it was hurtful.
Third, tell them what you’ll do differently from this point forward. Make this a positive. Something specific that you’ll try to do to ensure you’ll be more mindful next time.
AndfFourth, ask for forgiveness. Ask them directly for a decision in the matter. Show them you will wait for their response, and that they’re a part of this process just like you are. Show them you care about their forgiveness.
It seems so simple, but honestly, is that how we’ve asked for forgiveness in the past? Especially point number three, I think we neglect that one. We might confess, we might ask for forgiveness, we might even map out why it was wrong. Very rarely do we think about what we’ll do instead next time. This point is for us…it’s our plan of action, our call to arms. It’s our map for the road ahead.
None of us are perfect. There’s going to be chances to apologize. Let’s make the most of those chances, and do it right. Restore the relationship.
Be more than sorry. James 5:16 – Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
About the Author:
Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.
Sherry Chamblee can be found at http://www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com Or check out her books at http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Chamblee/e/B00BA06RJ2/