There are two ways that our relationship with others can be disturbed.
- We can be offended.
- We can offend someone else.
As God’s people, who are concerned about pleasing God, we want to follow peace with all men. Whether we have been offended or whether we have offended someone else, we have an obligation.
If we have been wronged we are to forgive those who have done the wrong. When you are praying and the wrong that someone has done against us comes to our mind… We are to forgive. If necessary, we are told in Mathew 18:15-20, it may take some work.
Mathew 5:23-25 tells us that our obligation when we have wronged someone else and are coming to prayer and this wrong comes up in our mind… we need to do something about it. If we have offended someone, if we know someone has something against us, we are obligated according these scriptures to take the initiative and apologize. When we do, our worship can and will become sweeter!
Luke 19:1-10 is the story of Zacchaeus. He had defrauded people, it was why he was a wealthy man. In the presence of Jesus he was convicted and decided to give money back to those who he had cheated. He settled up with them. Three words that he surely said were “I am sorry!”
Saying “I’m sorry” can be so hard to do. We can think that the person might think less of us if we admit that we are wrong. It’s humiliating, it puts me beneath that person and obligates me to them. If we allow this kind of reasoning to rule our decisions and postpone action on or part we can reason away our obligation. That’s not something that we want to do.
Be prompt in your admission of guilt – Jesus taught us that we should agree with the one who we have aught against while we are “in the way.”
Ephesians 4:26 – Paul tells us that we should take care of our issues with anger before the sun goes down. Whether it is afternoon morning or whenever we should be prompt. An offense left not taken care of can sit and fester… the offended can begin to assume that there is a motive behind the action that was worse than it actually was!
Proverbs 18:19 When you know that you’ve done something that hurt someone else, take care of it, take care of it as soon as possible.
1 Peter 3:7-12
We need to consider how we would feel if someone had treated us in the manner that we have treated someone else. If we have trouble feeling sorry when we’ve hurt someone, that may indicate a weakness in our character. It is definitely something that we should bring to God and ask him to help us with.
Psalm 51:4 – David begins by bringing his offense before God first. Any wrong is a wrong against God. If we have committed an offense we have committed it against God.
When we approach the offended one we need to be honest, specific and genuine. Be clear that you value that relationship and you want to seek peace.
Part of saying I’m sorry is to intend to not commit the wrong again. Jesus said that we should forgive 70 times 7. He didn’t say that it is ok to offend and say “I’m sorry” 70 times 7.
1 Samuel 24:16-18 David had at least two opportunities to kill Saul. Both times Saul recognized that he was wrong and made his sincere intention to no longer pursue David known.
James 3:17 – Saying I’m sorry and being willing to quickly ask for forgiveness is part of Christian growth.
Children need to hear “I’m sorry” from their parents. Parents should also hear it from their children. Wives and husbands. Employees and employers. All relationships matter, sincere apologies cultivate a greater sensitivity for the feelings of others and how they are doing.
Mathew 5:9 – May God help us to think about our lives and our relationships, especially our responses to others. If there is clean up that needs to happen lets do it. Let’s be faithful in following peace and holiness.