Sunday, December 19, 2010

Two Important Words, "I Apologize"

Today I did what I've been putting off for countless weeks, I sent the two hardest amends letters I had to send. I know that they can respond any way they choose, and I'm praying for a softened heart in case of rejection, and a renewed sense of determination to no matter the outcome, to continue down the path the Lord has placed before me...the narrow, less taken one. After all, actions speak louder than words...and my actions have been nothing but a stumbling block for me in the past, but I refuse to allow them to be a rock on my path heading into this healthier, grace-filled future.

Why is it that our prisons are full, countries and groups are forever waging war, and wherever we go, we are exposed to mistreatment? Is it because we were made from clay, and like pottery, we are fragile and imperfect? No matter how magnificent a ceramic work of art is, it remains delicate and must be handled with care. Are we any different? Won't a harsh word, a critical look, or angry shove shatter the person it's directed at?

Because of our imperfections, we occasionally say and do hurtful things. That's why the two most important words are "I apologize." True, an apology cannot undo the harm already done, but at least it can restore the dignity of the victim.

Some are fearful of apologizing, believing it to be a sign of weakness. They don't want to appear submissive or hand over power to another. But when they committed their hurtful acts, weren't they aggressive, and didn't they usurp the power of the victim? So, it is only fitting that they reverse roles by sincerely expressing their sorrow for acting inappropriately.

When one offends someone, they've done the wrong thing; not to apologize is to refuse to do the right thing and compound the offense. Refusing to apologize is not a sign of strength but weakness. After all, one who refuses to say they're sorry acts out of fear, but one who admits they were wrong and asks for forgiveness acts out of courage.

What do you do if your apology is rejected? Respect the right of the victim to do so. Yet, if your misconduct was not exceptionally grave and your apology was sincere, their refusal to accept it makes them equally guilty, for now they are being hurtful. At such a time, don't perpetuate the problem by expressing anger. Rather, acknowledge that you've arrived at this point because of your own misconduct, accept the humiliation, forgive the person you offended, and move on.

Ironically, our misconduct can act as a blessing in disguise, for it is an opportunity to awaken to our faults, express remorse, and change our ways by repenting. It is an opportunity for spiritual growth. Remember, however, that this opportunity came about at the expense of another, so don't forget the pain you inflicted and do everything in your power to eliminate it.
Jesus spoke highly about repentance. Christ said, "There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance" (Luke 15:7). I refer to it as a process because repentance is not about FEELING sorry or SAYING, "Sorry!" But it is about DOING something about it; it is about making amends, making up for the harm already done. We can offend someone in the blink of an eye and apologize just as quickly, but making up for it can take time, so be prepared to invest that time.

More reasons for and benefits of apologizing include the following 1) Justice and fairness demand that we apologize any time we hurt others. 2) It is an opportunity to grow closer to God by practicing humility. 3) It is a gift we offer our victim, for by showing them they are worthy of an apology, we are offering them respect and restoring the esteem we took away by the offense. 4) It can heal damaged relationships, for by apologizing, you are expressing that the relationship is important to you and you want to make amends. 5) When you recognize and accept your weaknesses, you'll be better able to do the same for others, which is important because people are imperfect, mistakes will be made, and apologies will have to be accepted to restore harmony.
6) By accepting responsibility and showing respect for the injured party, we may actually strengthen the relationship. 7) By recognizing that we have acted inappropriately, we are beginning to act appropriately and mend our ways.

A further point is so important, it deserves its own paragraph. Apologies play a crucial role in family life. Parents need to treat their children with dignity and apologize when they are wrong. Likewise, children need to treat their parents with respect and say they are sorry when they misbehave. But how can children do so unless they learn from the example of their parents? Parents that are constantly squabbling set a poor example. Husbands and wives must beware of taking their mate for granted. Being married is no excuse for treating your partner unfairly and rudely. No one is more worthy of respect and appreciation than your spouse, so if you occasionally slip up, apologize as quickly as possible and make amends...(this is a toughy I've been working on HARD lately) Apologies and forgiveness, like love and trust, begin with a decision, so make a decision today to never take your spouse or children for granted. If you commit to them, they will commit to you.

An apology isn't complete unless we take all of the following steps. 1) Apologize quickly because you do not know how soon it will be too late. 2) Admit what you did. 3) Express your sorrow. 4) Be sincere by speaking from the heart and feeling the victim's pain. 5) Give your victim the opportunity to vent their feelings. 6) Make up for the harm you've done by taking corrective action, offering compensation, or making restitution. 7) Learn from the experience. Robert South has aptly written, "True repentance has a double aspect; it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye." 8) If your victim accepts your apology, accept their pardon with gratitude.

See how our missteps, mistakes, and misbehaviors can prove to be a valuable opportunity to become a better person? But, it remains true that the greatest gift we can offer others is to lead a life that doesn't need any apologies. Although it is hardly likely that any of us can reach that ideal, we must cling  (to our love, our guide, our teacher, Jesus Christ) to limit the damage we cause.

Be Restored!!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I had thoughts of what to write this evening. Then I came across this video. Please watch it. I've been overcome with God's grace which is new and fresh daily through this amazing video. I pray it will restore your spirit today as well beloved.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hang Up

In recovery the step I have been scared most of since the beginning is amends. Making amends for people who have hurt me, and whom I've hurt. Oddly enough...I find it MUCH easier to ask forgiveness for the things I've done to hurt people than to express the hurt other's have caused me. I think I'm still hurting. I watch a great show called Intervention on A&E. I've watched it for years and the thing that I love the most and makes me cry in almost every episode is the family members. Who even days before may have been so frustrated with the addict they were cursing to high heaven, in there face mad. But when coached after just a session with the interventionist on how to get their feelings out in a constructive way...tears flow. And the majority of the time the same sentence is uttered; "We just want the old _____ back." I long for people in my life to after cursing me to the ceiling, say that there's nothing they won't do to keep me a part of their lives as long as I'm following the correct path. I've never had that...and I'm very resentful and hurt because of it. They say hurt people hurt people, and that's exactly the pattern I've seen in my behavior. I understand that I have caused a lot of hurt, but I've been hurt too...and that's a tough one to proclaim. I'm just not sure about amends. I wish those people would soften their hearts and somehow find me...and knowing the God I know...I can't say that it's impossible. I pray daily I'll get there...and I have faith that I will, sometimes it simply overwhelms me. The task in itself, and the sadness written there in black and white. Do you have any amends stories to share? Successful or not so?

Interventions new season is beginning soon, and in the advertisements for it this girl says this line, "Heroin made the sun rise in my soul." Wow...that's powerful. Powerfully sad, profound, and true. These external addictions are amazing at numbing the world. And when the world goes down on us...we find that aaaahhh drugs, alcohol, anything that calms us and makes the sun rise again within us. I can't wait to watch that episode...I pray that girl has a family that even though they are hurt by her actions, refuse to let her go without a fight. How I hope someone grabs her by the arm and tells her about her Father that has already won that war for her soul...all she has to do is claim it.

I pray for you!!! Be Restored!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

He Puts A Song In My Heart

Many of our favorite popular songs are love songs. A few weeks ago someone sent me a YouTube link of a preacher who used popular songs to illustrate how our love for God should express the same intimacy expressed in good love songs. Think of your favorite love song. Could you substitute the name of God or Jesus in the song? Would you be able to sing the song to the Almighty?
One of my favorite songs in Stevie Wonder’s “I just called to say I love you.” That’s a song I could sing to God. It doesn’t have to be any special day or reason to just call to say, “I love you” to our God.
Another favorite is Barry White’s, “My First, My Last, My Everything.” Don’t you think that describes the God of all creation? The Word says He is the Alpha and Omega. We know He is the first and the last. The question is whether we will make Him our everything? Marvin Gaye sang, “How Sweet it is To be Loved by You,” and along with Tammi Terrell he sang, “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough.” In the first song Marvin says, “I needed the shelter of someone’s arms and there you were. I needed someone to understand my ups and downs and there you were. With sweet love and devotion, gently touching my emotions, I want to stop and thank you…” Instead of saying “baby” at the end of that line, we could just as easily say, “Jesus.” In the second song, the lyrics say, “Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you.” Can you imagine what the walk of faith would be like if we were pursuing God this fervently?
And of course we cannot forget the smooth and silky song styling of Smokey Robinson. In one of his golden oldies, “Try Something New,” he talks about how persistent he will be to please his beloved. “I will build you a castle with a tower so high, it reaches the moon. I’ll gather melodies from birdies that fly and compose you a tune. Give you lovin’ warm as mama’s oven and if that won’t do, then I’ll try something new.” Are we trying to continue to do what God asks of us? And, when we don’t succeed are we willing to look to God and say, “then I’ll try something new?”
John 13: 35 says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
In the greatest passage of scripture on love, Paul explains to the Corinthians what love is—what it entails and what it is not. This is the same love we should be showing our God because it is exactly the kind of love He lavishes on us. We each have a special song that lifts our spirits. That song is typically a great hymn of the church or one of the contemporary gospel songs of gospel music stars like Mary, Mary, Fred Hammonds, Kirk Franklin, or Donnie McClurkin. But somewhere among your CDs or on your iPod playlist are some good old love songs. Pull one of them out, listen to it, and determine whether it is a song you could sing to God. “I just called to say I love you…and I mean it from the bottom of my heart!”

Be Restored!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm Here!!!!

Im here I promise!!! You and this blog have been in my thoughts daily...but tis the season to get behind on blogging and thinking straight :) thank you Sweet Kris for checking in on me. It amazes me that I have such dear sweet friends across the country I've never even met in person but have come to mean so much to me :) my internet is down at the moment so I'm posting this via iPhone...which isn't terribly easy :) so what have I missed?? I miss my sweet readers and commit to coming back now!!! Not a lot to really speak of but somehow my time has been split in several directions. How was your thanksgiving? Mine was previous, spent at my mom and stepdads house. The only person missing was my sweet little girl who stayed home with her daddy because she was sick with the flu. Dont worry...we wrapped up all the leftovers and took it to them :) she's all better now thankfully. We started our Christmas countdown today :) this season is so much fun with children. My little guy can't get enough of the Christmas lights. Are you doing anything for advent? I'll share some great ideas I got from fellow homeschoolers as well as what we are doing to countdown the days to our Saviors birthday. I love you all!!!!