I am working through this series after we have taken the *quiz from Gary Chapman’s website. We are taking each category of the quiz and taking a deeper look of the apologies that we give and receive from those closest to us.
We are really quick to go to people to state our reasoning and why we have decided to take a particular stance on this or that hurt or offense to subconsciously defend ourselves. We have all the reasons in the world as to why we don’t want to forgive them for hurting us. We can hold on to the pain that was caused much longer than the situation itself. In order for anything to be genuine, it has to come directly from you with no outside influences.
Gary Chapman says, “Some mates will doubt the sincerity of an apology if it is not accompanied by their partner’s desire to modify their behavior to avoid the situation in the future…admitting you are wrong creates vulnerability...One important aspect of genuinely repenting is verbalizing your desire to change…it is important to remember that change is hard. There will be highs and lows on the road to change. You must remember that with God’s help, anyone can change their ways if they are truly and genuinely ready to repent.” (Chapman, 2013).
He says that a true repentance begins in the heart. Anything that is within your heart means you feel something. There is no way that you or I can give, nor receive, an apology if we do not feel anything at all. This makes us go back and feel what was done. We have to put down our defense mechanisms and stop being our own anesthesiologist nd feel the aftermath of the impact to our hearts! Areanna did a great job in her post last week speaking on the emotion that is required in order to express your regret towards actions you have done or were apart of. She said, “It’s a slap in the face to hear someone say words that you deserve with no power, feeling or emotion behind it.”
A portion of power comes from the position of our heart when we ask for or receive an apology. When we no longer want to move in the hurt or offense, we stop running and turn around and accept our brokenness and simply ask for forgiveness. The act of asking for forgiveness for the wrong that was caused, entertained, prolonged and even hoarded for whatever reason. I have come to learn that some people will hold on to the hurt much longer than wanting to let it go because there is a found a level of familiarity and comfort in it. It resembles another un-confronted hurt that was not dealt with and it has gotten another arm and makes life easier to live without this or that.
There are times when we hold on to these hurts and offenses and start to unconsciously speak from them. They have set up stones in our hearts and turn the scripture - out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45) into the monster opposite of purity. The offense becomes the feelings we embrace more than the root which is really hurt. [Unaddressed hurt evolves into many avenues of offense -- whether it be bitterness, anger, and even unbelief.] Being genuine is about speaking from the true and non-dressed up emotions which require an open heart. When we stop running, we will feel, accept and release our feelings about the situation and it will allow a path for us to repent.
The power in our vulnerability with our repentance will determine the level of acceptance of apologizing or receiving another’s apology. Genuinely repenting causes the wrongs that were done to be forgotten and for everyone to refocus the essence of the relationship.
Thinking about this reminds me of the three times that Peter denied Jesus (Matt 26:34-75; Luke 22:34-62; John 18:13-27). Although Jesus, already told Peter that it was going to happen, it did not take the pain and hurt out of Jesus’ eyes when he turned and looked at Peter. THAT’S what it may take for someone whose language of apology is genuine repentance. The vulnerability in showing the level of hurt caused by their actions…whether you knew it would be done or not.
Could you imagine the level of guilt that Peter must have walked in those days following Jesus’ death and then for him to come back to ask, “Peter, do you love me?” The many times Peter must have replayed the situation in his mind could have stopped his belief in the position that he held in Jesus’ heart. If he would have forsaken the fellowship of the other disciples, he would have missed an opportunity to reconcile with Jesus. Let’s make a commitment with ourselves that when we come to know that we have hurt someone that we love the most, we will not become an island but we’ll surround ourselves with those who are able to help us stand until reconciliation abounds.
Now, this is a stretch and completely out of character of Jesus, but can you briefly imagine if Jesus was mad at Peter and walking in unforgiveness towards him? When the opportunity came for reconciliation--instead of living out his purpose for why He was born (John 3:16), instead of offering eternal life--he would have allowed Peter to live in a mental hell that could have allowed his heart to grow cold towards the flame of love.
The depth of hurt that could have enveloped Jesus when Peter denied him could not be compared to the depth of regret that Peter may have felt. Jesus didn’t have to ask if Peter was sorry because he already forgave Peter in his heart. But just as Gary Chapman says, “…one important aspect of genuinely repenting is verbalizing your desire to change…” (Chapman, 2013). Jesus asking Peter if he loved him those three times was allowing Peter to verbalize his true and genuine heart towards Jesus.
Are you still numb about the last offense? Have you prayed to see what the root of it is/was?
How numb have you really allowed yourself to become? Have you celebrated how much you have allowed yourself to “feel” again?
Do you think that it is time to stop running from an offense or hurt and deal with the emotions that are intertwined with the situation?
Have you allowed the situation of offense or hurt to replay in your mind to keep you from asking for forgiveness out of fear of rejection? Or has it replayed in your mind to continue to draw you out of the position of pure love?
Has your fear of asking for forgiveness genuinely kept you from living your purposed filled life? Is it keeping others in a hostage situation of regret they feel they will never be released from?
Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your Son Jesus, Thank You for allowing me this time to first repent to You. Forgive me for everything I may have done, said or thought that is not pleasing to Your sight. Please Lord, forgive me for taking Your presence found within my brothers and sisters in Christ for granted. I ask that as I come repenting for sins that I lock into the love that is in You eyes for me. It's that look within Your eyes that saysI'll cast your sins as far as the east is from the west. It's that look in Your eyes that says I know the plans that I have for you and even your sins can't stop them from playing out just as I, the Lord Thy God, has planned. Lord, You are the God of a second, third and a thousand time. It is my prayer that you continue to allow me to embrace my capacity for my brothers and sisters. Let me be able to forgive them just as you forgave and forgive me. I know Your healing power is real, tangible and more importantly, working within me even now. Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus name, I pray.