Sometimes, you’re wrong. Maybe you make an honest mistake. Maybe your sin nature got the best of you. Whatever the case, from time to time, we all do or say things to other people that are wrong.
Maybe it’s a careless word to a coworker. Maybe it’s an argument, and you went too far with your words. Perhaps you said or did something that hurt another person. Perhaps, you failed to say something that was important to another person. Maybe your words or actions set a bad example for onlookers.
Whatever the circumstances, sometimes we all do things that hurt other people. When that happens, we know what we have to do. We have to make it right. We have to apologize. The trick is, apologizing means humbling ourselves and admitting our fault, and we humans don’t like doing that!
Maybe you’re good at admitting your fault. Maybe that’s not a struggle for you. But maybe, it is a struggle. How do you know?
Are You Blame-Shifting?
What do your apologies sound like? Have you ever said something like this:
“I’m sorry if I hurt you, but the way you were behaving, I hope you can understand my perspective.”
“I’m sorry I got impatient with you, but you weren’t listening!”
Have you ever used apologies like these? I have. But, are these really apologies? Let’s take a look.
“I’m sorry if I hurt you…”
Sorry if I hurt you? Not sorry for what you did–just sorry if what you did hurt someone? Is that really the root issue?
“But the way you were behaving…”
Whose fault is it that you hurt someone? Whose responsibility is it? Did someone else’s actions force you to sin?
Apologies Like These Miss the Point.
These are about shifting blame, explaining away our sinful actions as the inevitable results of other people’s indiscretions. These are token apologies that fail to truly acknowledge our own sinfulness, and shift our responsibilities to others.
Nobody likes to be wrong. Nobody likes other people to know that they are wrong. Nobody likes to go before their coworkers, their friends, their spouse or their children and say, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
But that’s exactly what we need to do.
“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
The lesson? It is more important to be humble than to be “right.” It is more important to have a broken heart than to be on the winning side of a dispute.
Humble Yourself and Admit Your Fault
Sometimes, you’re wrong. Understanding this fact is a vital starting point to allowing God to work in your heart. And that means humbling yourself, taking responsibility for your own actions, and not blame-shifting. It means not concerning yourself with the fault of others, or comparing your perceived righteousness compared to other people. God alone is our standard of righteousness, and next to Him, we all fall very, deeply, pathetically short.
Admit to your wife when you’ve wronged her. Admit to your husband when you’ve wronged him. Admit to your children that you made a mistake. Admit to your coworkers that you were wrong in sinning against them.
“I’m sorry. I was wrong. I’ll try to do better. Will you please forgive me?”
The Bottom Line:
No self-justification. No blame-shifting. No excuses. Humble yourself, take responsibility for your own faults, and truly apologize. Then, make every effort to avoid repeating your mistake.
We’re all wrong from time to time. Failing to admit it doesn’t fool anybody–it only makes us look more foolish. Don’t play the Blame Game. You know where the blame truly lies.
Make the sacrifice God is seeking; a broken and contrite heart, and watch God lift the burden of trying to save face.
We’re all wrong sometimes. The trick is to be wrong in the right way.