When Was the Last Time You Said I'm Sorry?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

when was the last time you said I'm sorry?
As I was reading through recent status updates on Facebook, I noticed someone simply quoted the famous line from the movie Love Story from 1970 with Ryan O'Neal and AliMcGraw - "Love means never having to say You're sorry." I've never seen the movie in its entirety and I don't plan on ever doing so. I also hate the music from that film. It's much too sappy and trite for my taste. I know, I've probably offended half my readers, and for that I'm sorry. But in all honesty, the real reason I dislike anything to do with that movie is because it presents such a distorted message about what love really is. Millions of couples have bought into the pop psychology that it teaches and many today are reeling from the broken relationships that kind of thinking leads to.

That simple phrase, "Love means never having to say You're sorry" is one of the biggest lies ever spoken. If that guides your relationships, I can tell you that you are headed for trouble. Your marriage won't survive that kind of selfish thinking. It will create resentment in your children and will drive a wedge in your friendships. 1 John 1:8 says, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." The bottom line is that never saying you're sorry is simply claiming to be perfect. You and I both know we are far from that. Many believe that saying you're sorry is a sign of weakness and you will lose respect if you do so. The reality is that the person who never admits any wrong isn't respected and is seen as weak, so this philosophy only leads you to the place you were trying to avoid.

James 5:16 tells us, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." I don't think James is telling us to publicly proclaim all of our faults to everyone. I believe he is talking about something much simpler and yet more profound than that. We must learn to live a lifestyle of authenticity which simply means saying I'm sorry when we have done wrong to someone. Why is it so hard for us to say two simple words? For starters, to say I'm sorry requires humility. Humility doesn't come naturally for us because our base nature strives to protect self. Humility does the opposite - it strives to protect others. It also requires vulnerability. When you say I'm sorry you put yourself at the mercy of others and that can be risky. However, refusing to admit you are wrong makes you vulnerable also, just in the opposite way. Humility breeds forgiveness while pride breeds judgement. If you want people to extend forgiveness to you, you have to say I'm sorry.

Here's one final thought about the subject. If you find that the people around you tend to be judgmental, unforgiving and harsh, perhaps it is because you have a hard time admitting when you are wrong and don't say I'm sorry. When we fail to do this we can't expect others around us to show us much mercy. If you don't walk in humility, you can't expect to be treated with grace. Saying I'm sorry takes strength of character and develops respect. It's true what they say, "What goes around, comes around."

Find ways this week to say I'm sorry and I was wrong. If this is new for you, it will take practice and it won't come easy, but hang in there and keep trying. I pray that as you determine to be authentic, your relationships will be transformed by these simple truths.

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