The thoughts, reflections and musings of an average Church of England Priest
Tuesday, 10 March 2015
40 Acts - Apologise
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32 (RSV)
‘I DEMAND an apology!’ Those words invoke all kinds of different emotions, all of them unpleasant. Of course as Christians, if we have done something wrong, we have to say we are sorry and admit we were wrong because Jesus sets the highest possible value on relationship.
But suppose we weren’t in the wrong; so we feel they should be the one to apologise. We wait, sometimes for years, but they avoid us – and the relationship is lost. In that case, an apology may be as simple as saying ‘I’m so sorry if you were upset.’ That isn’t taking the blame, or being untruthful, it simply shows understanding and compassion for someone else’s feelings and it’s often enough to restore the relationship.
Is there is a broken relationship in your life? It might be mended by an email or card today. Be warned though, it doesn’t always work, but at least after you’ve tried, forgiveness is then their problem, not yours!
Or perhaps you were close to someone once but you drifted away – the busyness of life or a house move separated you. They might have found the loss of friendship more difficult to cope with than you have. How about contacting them today, saying, ‘I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for so long; how are things going?’?
Another challenge might be to apologise on behalf of someone else. I was in a supermarket once when an older woman shouted very rudely at a teenager who, by mistake, had jumped the queue. I smiled at the girl and whispered, ‘So sorry that we oldies get so grumpy sometimes.’ I’ll never forget the way she smiled back!