As we continue on our journey of forgiveness we have noted that we must start by forgiving ourselves. In forgiving ourselves, we must accept our own responsibility because, If you do not accept your own responsibility when someone comes to you accepting their responsibility to build what was breached, you will have the ability to justify your choice defense mechanisms and hold your offense over their head. Your lack of self-reflection will cause an injection of pride and the beginning stages of superiority to be infused within your relationship. You will never fully trust their olive branch but will patiently wait for the opportune time to chop it down and bring up their offense to disable them. You will become an enemy destined to cause hurt and pain...only to start the cycle again.
Let’s move a little bit further in our journey by looking at the category of Expressing Regret. Gary Chapman says that this “is the Apology Language that zeroes in on emotional hurt. It is an admission of guilt and shame for causing pain to another person…a simple ‘I’m sorry’ is all they look for. There is no need for an explanation..the apology has truly come from the heart...it gets right to the point. It doesn’t make excuses or attempts to deflect blame…[it] speaks most clearly when the person offering the apology reflects sincerity not only verbally, but also through body language” (Chapman, 2013).
This was my highest score for the quiz. I was kind of shocked that someone would be able to put my way of thinking toward an apology in words and present them to me in a way that I understand. I don’t know if you felt the same way but that was me - amazed!
Being that we are human within us we have our emotions that play a big part of who we are and how we are made up. Think about it, God was invoked by emotion when Adam basically said to the Lord, “I’ve named and counted the animals but I can’t seem to see who my mate is?” In that, the Lord knows we have emotion. When the conversation was going on to, “let us make man according to our image”, it was not spoken, “but let’s be sure to not include the emotions with us.” The breath of God included all of that too! We are emotional and that is okay. Our emotions, whether they be all over the place or in balance, don’t disqualify us from receiving God’s unyielding love nor His forgiveness towards us!
What I have learned, is that if I get emotional about something that someone has done then I actually love them. Think about it, you don’t get emotional over something that someone does that you have no connection with (I don’t want you to think about compassion here. We will discuss that in another series ;-) ). The fact that you can get emotionally hurt shows that the person has penetrated past your defense mechanisms, your own thoughts about them and shattered your expectations. Yet, I’ll ask again, what if this person is the one staring back at you in the mirror?
After we have accepted and taken our responsibility of our own actions towards the situation, we should go back and take the inventory of the hits that our emotional shields have taken. Look at the holes in it and see why you were weakened in that moment. Don’t use this time to beat yourself up, condemn yourself or even justify your emotional toxicity you have been giving off since the situation happened. Feel your hurt, look at your shame, and simply tell yourself “I’m sorry”. Remember, we can’t deflect the blame because we have taken responsibility. We can’t make excuses because with responsibility and ownership they are invalid.
One of the last questions I asked a couple of weeks ago was, “If you were on the other side of the mirror (your reflection) would you accept your apology?” This is where you would revisit that apology, as hard and uncomfortable as this may be, take another look at the condition of your heart and how your actions (your body language) has responded to the emotional pain of the hurt and offense. When you apologize this time, the depth of your sincerity will connect again with the breath that God blew into you. You will hear, “I’m sorry” but your heart will hear, “I’m ready to live again.”
Have I secretly kept a running list of hurts and offenses that people have caused me?
Have you told them you were upset? (Or have you admitted to yourself you hurt your own feelings by allowing it to get this far?)
Has your body language changed towards this person? Towards yourself? (meaning, you find yourself trying to wear makeup or killing yourself at the gym to physically cover up what you feel inwardly. You find yourself trying to mentally compete more, whether people realize it or not? You find yourself shutting down much faster and more often than before?)
Have you made excuses for hoarding your pain instead of addressing it?
When you look into your eyes, do you see that you are opening up to allow the Lord to change and purify your heart and motives?
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapened in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
In Jesus Name, Amen