Category: Apology

Forgiveness Does Not Heal Everything

We often have the mistaken idea that forgiveness will heal everything. Let me share three things that forgiveness does not do. (1)  Forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of wrong doing. The father who abandons his children may repent ten years later, but forgiveness does not restore the ten years of void. (2) Forgiveness does not immediately restore trust. Once trust is violated, it must be rebuilt by the person being trustworthy. If that happens, then over time trust will be restored. (3) Forgiveness does not remove the offense from one’s memory. It does mean that you choose not to hold the offense against them.

Resource: Love As a Way of Life.

Without Forgiveness

There are no healthy relationships without forgiveness. From time to time all of us do and say things that hurt those we love. Such behavior calls for an apology—and apologies call for forgiveness. Now, let’s be honest, forgiveness does not come easily. The husband who gambles away the money they had saved for a new car cannot expect his wife to be happy. Nor should she expect herself to simply accept his behavior and move on. No, forgiveness is the response to genuine repentance. God does not forgive us our sins when we refuse to repent. Nor, can we do this on the human level. But when there is genuine repentance, than you must extend genuine forgiveness. Forgiveness brings healing and hope for a better future.

Without Forgiveness

Human beings are truly free–free to love, and free to hate.

With this freedom, people often make wrong decisions and hurt themselves and those around them. When we are wronged, our sense of justice cries out, “Somebody is going to pay for this.” And the truth is, someone did. His name is Jesus. If the person who sinned, confesses their sin and accepts Christ sacrifice, God will forgive them.

As his follower, you have been forgiven, and as His follower, you can forgive others. Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision to choose mercy rather than justice. You are not ignoring the wrong; you are choosing to forgive it.  Forgiveness is one of the traits of love.

Confronting and Forgiving

The Bible views marriage as a covenant. However, covenant marriages are not perfect marriages. Perfection is reserved for God. There are no perfect husbands. There are no perfect wives. When we join in covenant marriage, we agree to love each other. That is, look out for each others interests. But we also agree to hold one another accountable to our covenant. Lovingly confronting your spouse when they hurt you is a part of our covenant. Confession on the part of the one who has sinned, and forgiveness on the part of the one offended, are both necessary in a covenant marriage. Forgiveness is a willingness to lift the penalty and continue a loving growing, relationship. Covenant marriages require confronting and forgiving.

Q&A: Lying About The Past

Q: How do I learn to forgive my husband for lying about his past?

A: I think one of the most difficult things to get over is a spouse who lies to you about their past. I think, however, you can forgive for that. There has to be genuine repentance, they have to acknowledge to you that they were wrong and regret that they lied. But I do think that when they apologize to you and repent, as Christians, we must stand ready to forgive.

The Scriptures say we are to forgive as God has forgiven us. God forgives us when we confess our sins and when our spouses confess their sins, I think we have to stand ready to forgive them. It doesn’t remove all the hurt but when the hurt comes back you say to God, “I thank you that that is now forgiven.”

When We Hurt Someone

Sometimes we hurt people and don’t realize it.

Good marriages are fostered by expressing regret even when we didn’t intend to hurt them. If you bump someone getting off an elevator, you probably say, “I’m sorry.” Why would you not do that with your spouse? “I’m sorry that my behavior caused you so much pain. I didn’t intend to hurt you but I know I did. I feel badly about it and I hope you will forgive me.”

Sincere apologies make it easier for your spouse to forgive you. You don’t have to be perfect to have a good marriage. But you must deal with your failures. “I’m sorry” is a key ingredient to a loving marriage.

Apology Vs. Blame

“I’m sorry but if you had not provoked me, I would not have lost my temper.” That is not an apology. It is blaming your spouse for your poor behavior.  Sincere regret needs to stand alone.  It should not be followed with “But…” One husband said, “Her apologies always come across as attacks on me. She says she’s sorry but then she blames me. To me that’s not an apology.”

How about you?  When you say, “I’m sorry,” do you use the word ‘but”?  If so, then you’re not apologizing.  You are blaming.  You are creating resentment inside your spouse.  They have a hard time forgiving you because in their mind you are not apologizing.  In the future, try eliminating the ‘buts’.

When you apologize to your spouse, what do you say?

For many, the answer is: “I’m sorry.” But do you tell them what you are sorry for? An apology has more impact when it’s specific.  “I’m sorry that I got home late. I know that you worked hard to be ready on time, and I show up 30 minutes late. I feel bad that I’ve made you wait. I hope you will forgive me and we can still have a good evening.”

This apology communicates that you are aware that your behavior inconvenienced your spouse, and that you feel badly about it.  Here’s an apology that you should never use: “I’m sorry that you got hurt.” That shifts the blame to your spouse. It’s far better to say, “I’m sorry that my behavior hurt you.”

There’s more to an apology than saying “I’m sorry”

Perhaps you’ve said “I’m sorry” but your spouse is finding it hard to forgive you. So you feel frustrated and are saying to yourself, “I apologized, what else can I do?” If you’re serious, I’ll tell you. Ask your spouse this question: “What can I do to make this up to you?  I know I hurt you and I feel bad about it, but I want to make it right. I’d like to do something to show you that I love you.”

This is far more powerful than simply saying, “I’m sorry.” You are trying to make restitution. You are demonstrating that you really care about your relationship. After all, what your spouse wants to know is “are you sincere in your apology?”

Saying "I'm Sorry"

Did the movie Love Story get it right when it advised us that true love means never having to say, “I’m sorry?”  I don’t think so, for one simple reason—we are all human. And humans are not perfect. All of us end up hurting the person we love the most. Having a good marriage does not demand perfection, but it does require us to apologize when we fail.

When I say, “I’m sorry,” I am expressing regret that my words or behavior have brought pain to you. I feel bad that I have hurt you.  When is the last time you said, “I’m sorry” to your husband or wife. If it’s been a while, then, you probably own them an apology.  Love means always being willing to say, “I’m sorry.”