Living peacefully in personal relationships.
The Bible tells us a lot about apologizing and confessing our sins. The consequences of sins and the harm we do to others is more important than our pride and self righteousness. When we apologize, we show love, concern and compassion for the person we have knowingly or unknowingly hurt or offended. It is the fruit of humility.
Jonah disobeyed God and spent time in the belly of a whale until he apologized. Job apologized to God for sins he did not know he had committed. Joseph's brothers apologized to him for selling him into slavery.
It is important to adhere to God's plan. God is very forgiving.
When we apologize, we recognize our sins. It clears the air between people and between us and God. Sometimes apologizing means looking to God for the ways we have wronged Him. Sometimes it means asking forgiveness and apologizing to someone for the effects our actions have had on them or for what we have done to them. God forgives us when we ask for forgiveness.
1 John 4:7-8 (KJV) Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 2:3-6 (KJV) And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
1 John 2:12 (KJV) I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
It isn't easy to confess our sins. Generally, we don't like to admit we are wrong, but it is all part of the cleansing and healing process. It is good to confess sin as soon as we recognize it or as soon as it is brought to our attention. If we have caused offense in the life of another, it is good to apologize as soon as possible too. It is humility to go to the other person, admit we were wrong, or unkind and ask for their forgiveness for offending them. We are responsible to God and to one another to acknowledge we have caused hurt in the life of another person. The sooner we ask for forgiveness, the sooner everyone involved can heal and move forward.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
The Bible doesn't say a lot directly about apologizing. A word search does not show the word to be there, but that doesn't mean that the concept of apologizing is missing from God's Word.
In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus talks about what we are to do when someone is angry with us. He says to “reconcile” with them right away. Jesus doesn't mention who is at fault. He said that if you remember that someone may be angry at you, go make it right. In context this tells us that we need to do what it takes to make things right with this person (including asking for forgiveness) not for our sake, but for their sake.
Jesus said that it was dangerous for Christians to hold on to anger towards someone. He then told us to go reconcile with people who are angry with us. So, what He’s saying is to love others enough to do what you need to do in order to help remove the offense between you. Care enough to do whatever it takes to restore relationship.
Apologizing requires humility. When someone is angry with us the first thing we want to do is defend ourselves and our position. Especially if we think we are right and the other person is wrong. Right and wrong do not matter. Fault is equally shared by everyone involved. Acknowledging our role is the 1st step toward healing in the relationship.
1 Peter 3:8-12 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
God is saying that if we want to have a good life here on earth, we need to do our best to live in harmony with people in our personal lives. One way to encourage peace and harmony is to acknowledge that we have hurt or offended and do what ever it takes to diffuse the other person's anger towards us.
It is not our natural reaction to ask for forgiveness and acknowledge we have offended someone. It is a usual reaction to defend ourselves and to fight back or deny that we have caused offense because we ourselves are not offended by what we have done. God could be using the other person to bring to the light an area of our life that we are not aware of. It is an opportunity for reflection and personal growth.
Peter is saying it is wrong to defend ourselves, fight back or deny we have caused offense because we ourselves do not see that we have offended. Defending ourselves and our pride is not our primary concern. Our primary concern should be doing whatever it takes to restore relationship, peace and harmony for the greater good of everyone involved including ourselves.
2 Corinthians 13:11 (KJV) Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Romans 12:17-21 (KJV) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
If or when someone asks you for forgiveness, give it. Freely offer an apology and ask for forgiveness when it has been brought to your attention that you have offended another person. Practicing these principles encourages healthy relationships and pleases God.
Ask yourself these questions:
What is there to gain or lose by offering an apology and asking for forgiveness?
What is there to gain or lose by not offering an apology and asking for forgiveness?