the lie of the apology

A few years ago I was having a rather raw conversation with a family member. At one point, this person expressed a sincere and genuine apology for something that had really wounded me. My immediate gut reaction was to cry, as I realized in that moment that there was nothing that could be said which would take away the pain and anger I had been dealing with.

As much as the apology was appreciated, the work to heal still belonged to me.

I have had dozens of conversations with people waiting for an apology. Unable or unwilling to move any further until the offending person took ownership for their words or actions, they remain stuck emotionally. All the truth about God’s call to forgive, and that forgiveness is more for us than for others, doesn’t always move one to choose forgiveness. Some people go to their grave carrying unforgiveness and bitterness as a result of a lifetime of unrequited reconciliation.

As believers, it is vital we recognize that inherent value in the mandates and directives of God. Nothing is done with malicious intent or ill will, but all things, even those which are so desperately hard, are intended to lift us up, set us free, call us into maturity, and cause us to rely solely upon Him. Most of what is best for our souls, also tends to be most difficult to attain without faith and submission to the process.

Many, many years ago, I found myself a single mom of a toddler and a three month old baby. As the deep depression began to lift, the pain and grief at being abandoned left huge chasms in my heart, and yet stirred up great anger in the core of my being. The feelings of loss, compounded by rejection and stirred daily by the injustice, threatened to completely engulf me. One day I made a decision. I prayed. I prayed for my kids’ dad to be blessed. To find peace. To walk in prosperity. I prayed out loud and declared that I forgave him, even when my heart felt I didn’t. Slowly, and over time, my emotions began to align with my mind’s decision.

Slowly. I began to heal.

Never have I received an apology.

Nor do I ever need one.

Regardless of the degree of violation or betrayal, offense or irritation, we alone are capable, and responsible, to begin, fight for, and complete our own healing process. Gracing others for being human, recognizing that we ourselves probably owe someone an apology, and embracing the truth of the power of forgiveness to set our own hearts and minds free, is our journey. And ours alone.

May you be healed. May you be whole. And may you never give in to the lie …

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