“I can’t believe you didn’t remember your shoes!!”
I know I reminded her.
I know she’s 9.
But now we can’t go in the store.
The Holy Spirit helped me stifle the critical remark threatening to escape my lips.
You know the one that starts, “How many times have I told you to…”
I took a deep breath, and did the thing that I do at least once per day with nearly everyone I live with – I apologized.
“You didn’t deserve that. I’m sorry I snapped at you. You are precious to God and precious to me, and I paid attention to the shoe situation more than I paid attention to that very important fact for a minute. I’ll try to do better about how I speak to you. Can you please forgive me?” I asked.
“Oh mommy, I’m sorry I forgot my shoes. You did tell me and I just forgot. I’m sorry, too. Will you forgive me? I’ll try to remember next time,” she replied.
So we forgave each other.
And it was all good.
And next time, we’ll both try a little harder.
I’m glad God gives me more chances than I want to give others to get things right.
The first line of Proverbs 12 struck me today as I remembered this key relationship building tool, that of apologizing for what you did wrong in a situation. I was reminded of how I’ve been taught that apologizing frees up the other person to own their responsibility, too. I could have chosen to be prideful (because deep down, we’re all afraid of not being perfect or loveable or something) and not apologized, but that would have been the wrong thing to do.
FYI, the steps for healthy apology are:
- Say, “I’m sorry I…” and fill in the blank with what you did (and don’t be sarcastic) (or throw in additional condemnation…No, “I’m sorry I responded to your lack of sensitivity.” YIKES!)
- Identify how the other person must have felt, and listen to them about their feelings if they want to tell you about them (without arguing, btw)
- Commit to not repeating the behavior again (yes, outloud)
- Change your behavior (seriously)
And #4 is also key – doing 1-3 and not changing your behavior is like lying or throwing your integrity in front of a bus.
So ask God to help you do better.
Each of us is precious to God (Psalm 139:1-7) and we need to treat each other with that in mind.
So, today, I dare you to LISTEN with the intention of UNDERSTANDING. I dare you to APOLOGIZE with the intention of owning what’s yours to own. Neither of those things negate the other person’s wrong doing, but will instead tear down walls between you and another – and keep you in right relationship with God.
Double Dog Dare you to share or invite friends to join us on Facebook® or here!
Triple Dog Dare you to swallow your pride, be humble, and apologize when you are wrong!
Glad to be on the journey with you!