Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More "I'm Sorry" {Lent Day # 22}


 My night stand drawers are full of special notes and keepsakes.  It is so hard for me to throw away things handwritten and meant especially for me.  There are several notes that look like these, and I treasure them greatly.  They are from my kids and have usually been found on my pillow around bedtime.  I don't treasure them because I want to remember how wrong or offensive a child was behaving and how right or hurt I was at the time.  What makes me hang on to them is the picture of transformation they are, and not necessarily transformation in the hearts of my children, although they do give indication of that, but more so the transformation of my own heart.

Most of the grown-ups in my family did not admit wrong or say they were sorry when I was a child.  I didn't realize the full impact of this until I was an adult myself.  All I knew was that though their offenses hurt greatly, I must still be the one at fault.  As the years went by, the relationships grew colder and then almost entirely superficial.  It's really difficult to have authentic relationship with someone who will not admit imperfection or hurtful behavior.  Impossible really.

I didn't want that to be the case in my own home and family.

I had to learn to say "I'm sorry." I learned it from the Bible.  I learned it from my humble, eager to listen, quick to apologize husband.  I learned it from interacting with all sorts of people in friendship and fellowship. I learned it from reading books on relationships.  I learned it from helpful charts like this found at homeschool conferences...

All credit for my learning how to say I'm sorry {which is still imperfect} goes to the Lord.  I knew it hurt me to never hear those words, but practicing them was another thing entirely.  He prompted me when it was necessary, and gave me strength to act and speak.  The sweet pillow notes are evidence to me that He truly transformed me into something different than I had seen modeled, because now my own children are choosing to take responsibility for their own offenses.  I can't help but think that He used my "I'm sorry's" to teach them that it is good and right and necessary to say "I'm sorry."

Oh, the apologies never happen perfectly around here, and sadly, it seems that I'm still the one who takes the longest to have a soft enough heart to say the words, but I take heart in the fact that we've established somewhat of a habit.  

I read this this morning from John Piper: 
 Now the aim of all forgiveness is to restore a damaged relationship. God's aim is to bring His people into perfect harmony and union and fellowship with Himself for His glory and their joy forever. To that end He is willing to forgive the insults that threaten to ruin that fellowship through sin. But can there be fellowship when one of the parties in a relationship is perpetually devoted to offending and insulting the other? Conceivably God could disregard such continued insults for an eternity. But what for? That wouldn't bring about union with His people and so neither His glory nor their happiness would be achieved. Only the perpetuation of sin and defamation of God's character.

"I'm sorry's" and forgiveness are the key to relationship with God and each other ~ the "aim of all forgiveness is to restore a damaged relationship."  When there are no "I'm sorry's" there is no recognition of God's glory and no happiness in relationship with Him or others, and I want both.

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