*I started this post back in January and set it aside for a while and now I'm re-visiting it.
I've talked a bit on here about what apologizing looks like, what humbling yourself and saying the words "I was wrong, will you forgive me" can do. As I get older I learn more about what it means to apologize well, what all it entails, what good can come from it even if the person chooses not to forgive you, etc.. I was a part of a really good apology recently and I want to share that here because I think there's value in it.
In January I was on the other side of a hurtful exchange. My friend was being selfish and interjected their agenda into something that wasn't about them. They created a false agenda and honestly were just rude and inconsiderate. I tried to point this out in a way that I felt was fair to the situation, but was ultimately left with silence. Days went by and there wasn't a response, I saw this person briefly and there was a pretty normal interaction but nothing meaningful was said. I wondered if it was just going to go by the wayside, but I really did expect more from this particular individual so I just waited. Well, wouldn't you know it, after several days my phone rang, what was said on the other end was done so well, which is why I'm sharing it here. My friend said to me "Do you have a minute?" yes. "I wanted to talk to you about our exchange last week, I was selfish and created a narrative about the situation that wasn't true. I had a really good time this weekend because of something that you created because you cared for our friends well, so thank you. I'm sorry I responded that way." WHOA. Here's the deal, if we live long enough, we're all going to be that person, we're all going to have moments of being selfish and we're going to say/text/email things we shouldn't, but what we do after the train wreck is where the rubber meets the road. This isn't new, I get it, (in fact, the more I blog the more I feel like I sound like a broken record and wonder if this poor blog should be put to a permanent rest!) but its a lesson I keep learning, so I gotta believe someone out there can keep learning and benefitting from it too. I was really proud of my friend (not to sound condescending) for the words he chose, the intention with which he said them, and the blatant honesty that he brought to the table. He could have easily said "I'm sorry for our interaction, I shouldn't have done that" and to be fair, that would have been sufficient (for this particular instance), but he owned his mistakes, he named them and used language to express the whole truth of the situation and it was really appreciated, helpful, meaningful, and honest. I'm thinking we could all do more of this when we're wrong, the result is really profound. I'm hopeful to do this better in my life.
On the flip side, I received an apology recently (no, I'm really not being wronged all the time! ha!) that was the complete opposite from what I just described. The words "I was wrong" were lacking, naming the sin/wrong was lacking, ownership was lacking, and it felt empty and very half-hearted and easy. And to be honest, it was nowhere near enough based on the wrong that was done. When is the lesson of not taking the easy way out going to be a thing? I think about this a lot, what is hard for an instant is easy thereafter. The hard part is gathering the courage/humility to tell the truth and say "I was wrong, will you please forgive me?" After that, easy street! You are now freed regardless of what the person decides to do -you just have to speak the truth and ask. GO GET YOUR FREEDOM that Jesus has given!!! Its so dang freeing!! As my dear friend often says to me, "You are only responsible for your responses." You can't make someone forgive you, that's not on you, but you do have to own your wrongs, that is on you.
I'm coming off a very emotionally charged week, I don't have the freedom to discuss the details here for numerous reasons but I am really drained. If you could pray for Adam and I, for the wisdom and grace to love some folks well in a really tough time, we'd appreciate that. Life is hard, and doing life with others gets really messy sometimes. I'm thankful for the ways in which I get carried through each day by someone who can't and doesn't show up too late. Grace and peace, friends. xo