Monday, December 12, 2011

It's such a simple thing to say

I really think my life was changed for the better by learning to say two words. Yet I continue to be amazed at the number of people who would rather throw away relationships than to simply say... "I'm sorry."

Sure, there are those times when we're all unaware that we've hurt someone else. But there are also many times when, for me at least, I know that I've messed up. It's in those times that we have a choice to make: do I apologize, or do I harden myself?

I think it changed my relationship with my kids when I first realized there were times I needed to apologize to them. Whether it was for losing my temper, or failing to listen to them, or whatever. I know it changed my relationship with my wife; with co-workers; friends; other family... just about everyone...

It's such a simple thing to say, and I have so often seen it diffuse the most volatile of situations. Yet I continue to marvel at people who suffer pain and isolation because they just can't seem to bring themselves to say it.

As Jim Morrison said, "People are strange." I think Reggie McNeal is right in that discipleship in the way of Jesus is basically just maturing as a person. If Jesus was the perfect person, then growing as his disciple would be nothing more than becoming... more human; more like Jesus; more mature. I am not saying that I am all Jesusy-like, or that I'm the most mature of people myself... but I'm glad I learned to say "I'm sorry." It has lifted so many burdens from my soul. I'm sure I haven't said it to everyone I need to - when you offend as many people as I apparently do, it's hard to keep track - but it's not because I am unwilling. I might be a jerk sometimes, but it's not on purpose.

Anyway, I was just thinking this morning about how much easier life is with those two simple words. And how much easier it could be for a lot of people who seem unable to say them. But... what do I know...