“A truly humble apology works to part storm clouds, calm rough seas, and bring on the soft lights of dawn; it has the power to change a person’s world.” -Richelle E. Goodrich
Why is saying, “I’m sorry” so hard for some of us? Its like those words seem to get stuck in our throats and refuse to come out. Sometimes, we try to force the words out, you know, lasso them and drag them out of our mouths, but, then they can sound harsh and insincere…almost stabbing. So many times, we dodge saying those 2 little words, and that’s what they are…WORDS! They are not like the prickles of the porcupine, but they sure feel like it! Think about how different your life could be if you stopped running from “I’m sorry” and embraced it instead??
Well, honestly, I’m one of those people who have always struggled with saying a real GENUINE apology. My apologies are always laced with some sort irritating comment, like, “Well, I’m sorry that the truth hurts your feelings, “ or “ Sorry that you are hurt by my words, but you’ve always been sensitive.” But, I’m learning to really apologize from the heart. And, of course, a child, my daughter, was the one who really started to teach me.
A couple of years ago, Paisley and I decided to make brownies together. Now, my daughter does NOT like to cook, so getting her to make brownies with me was a tiny victory! While we were making brownies, my husband called with some bad news that left me very frustrated and annoyed. It was one of those phone calls that makes your blood pressure go from normal to heart attack mode in seconds. When I hung up the phone, I walked into the kitchen and saw that Paisley had poured not 1/3 cup of oil into the brownie mix, but 1 AND 1/3 cup of oil into the mix. The brownie powder was swimming in a pool of vegetable oil, and for some reason, I snapped. I grabbed the bowl from her tossed it in the sink, the oil splashing all over the counter. I looked at her straight in the eye and yelled in the nastiest witchy way possible, “ Why didn’t you ask??? You RUINED it!!! What’s wrong with you!?!” It was one of those things that you know your kids are going to tell their therapist that you did one day. And, one look from her was all it took. Her little eyes filled with the beginnings of tears, and she didn’t say a word. She just hung her head, and quietly went up the stairs, and with the closing of her bedroom door, my heart sank. I wished she would have yelled back at me, or slammed the door. But, this was different. It was a quiet brokenness. I really hurt her feelings. It was totally NOT my best parenting day.
As I stood at the kitchen counter, I went over and over again in my head how she deserved it. She doesn’t ever measure, she rushes, she doesn’t read the directions….and then I realized, she is just like her mother….ME. My daughter is reflecting her mother. And, I just squished our little cooking time together like a bug on the floor. She didn’t ruin it, I did. So, up the stairs I went.
I found her on her bed sobbing in her pillow. As I sat by her feet, and touched her back, she didn’t pull away, or give me the “stink eye”, she waited for what I had to say. And, I did it. I really gave it my all. I apologized. It was a good one, too. I admitted to everything that I did, and didn’t even point out the mistakes that she had made! It was a real, true heart felt apology, and I meant every word of it. And, she knew it. She embraced me, and told me that she forgave me….and that she really didn’t ever want to cook with me again…not for a while anyway! And, how could I blame her??
Looking back on that, not only did I learn something about a genuine apology, but I also showed my daughter that when you wrong someone, you humble yourself and make it right. How many times, as parents, do we just wash over issues that we really need to repent and ask forgiveness for? How many times have we yelled at people who aren’t driving fast enough for us and their little ears have heard it, how many times have we been at the end of our rope and taken it out on our children? It doesn’t mean that we have to live perfect lives, but it does mean that we need to own our issues and our sin, and honor our relationships with our children and apologize. Don’t we want true deep relationship with our children? If we are to teach them the power and healing behind the apology, and we expect them to do it to others, we need to model it for them ourselves.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32