Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Body Language

I know, it hardly seems fair to use a photo of the ancestors as an object lesson, does it. But still, every time I see this, I am reminded of how often people just don't get along, insist upon having their own way, won't back down for anything, and keep a grudge going forever.

I knew the woman in the photo. She is my husband's great aunt. I loved her very much. Who knows? Maybe they both were suffering from a bad bit of potato...or maybe, like the rest of us humans, they had those cranky 'It's your fault' moments.

***


'A soft answer turns away wrath'... 'Don't let the sun go down upon your anger'... 'Blessed are the peacemakers'... Those are just a few Scriptures that also come to mind when I see this photo.

All it takes is one person to say, 'I'm sorry. Please forgive me' or one person to say, 'I was wrong. You were right.'  Those words can defuse so many tense moments, soften a hard heart, and bring healing to a relationship.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not a character flaw to admit we were wrong or to say we are sorry. Quite the opposite is true, and kind words do heal. I know that when my husband says he's sorry, it melts my heart. And when I apologize to him, that wedge of tension that separated us evaporates.

We gain so much when we are the one who is willing to step up and ask for forgiveness. We gain nothing by digging in, holding our ground, and waiting.

Oh, I'm not talking about the non-apology, you know, 'IF I've offended you...' as though the person offended is at fault. We all know very well that is not an apology. That is like saying, 'I'm sorry you are such an idiot that you were offended' and blaming the other person all over again.

I think it's my first inclination to feel like I'm risking something by being the first to apologize. But really, what are we risking? Well, possibly risking rejection by the other person who won't forgive. But balancing that against honoring the Lord in obedience? Hmmm. Let's risk it. Let's be willing to be used of God to heal a relationship and leave the outcome in His hands.


Colossians 3:13:
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

P.S. I'll have to keep in mind that I may be used as an object lesson some day to another generation. I'm so grateful that we have a forgiving Savior who never turns the penitent sinner away. 


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12 comments:

Candace said...

so.much.wisdom.

Beautifully written, Judy, and the photo is priceless. Thank you for sharing both. Have a wonderful day, Candace

J_on_tour@jayzspaze said...

You couldn't have chosen a better photo that illustrates this post. I find saying sorry can be either easy or difficult depending on if I think that I have a made a fool of myself or ... I knew I was right !! However as you rightly point out it is the relationship that counts rather than the point scoring.
Your last paragraph reminds me indirectly of longer term problems and we need to be reminded that it's not all about us. As we seek to live a life pleasing to God with his guidance, we are his representatives and we are but chessboard pawns in his plans and purposes. I have had a tricky two way situation to deal with in the last year which I hope has been resolved recently.

Jenn said...

Well said Judy! We live in such a "me, me" world. It's sort of sickening sometimes. At my office people spend more time trying to find someone to blame for a problem then actually trying to figure out how to fix it. And saying they are sorry... I don't even think some people know what that word truly means!

EmptyNester said...

I'd love to say I have no idea what you're talking about. But that would be a lie---you were talking about me! LOL I seriously have a problem with this. It has gotten better through the years, but still...

Midwest to Midlands said...

To me that picture could also be that they are having a serious discussion and she is thinking it over, or maybe they have heard some bad news and she is trying to take it all in. Either way your advice is good. It does take more effort to be upset than it does to be happy, but sometimes we just can't help it!

partialemptynester said...

Great post! I need to be reminded daily...no hourly...hmm, maybe minute by minute sometimes how important it is to apologize. The more often I do it, though, the easier it gets...as humiliating as it can be, you are so right...it diffuses the tension almost immediately every single time!!!

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

oh so true so true. My favorite is not letting the sun go down on your anger. it's true...i hold a grudge, I have to work on that.

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner
www.mawhats4dinner.com

Lana said...

I think the legislators in both our states should take a page out of this book! I'm usually the first one to say I'm sorry, to the point, at times, of saying it just to appease whoever is angry. There is a fine line on apologies, and it is sometimes hard to find!

Mama Hen said...

That picture says a lot. This is a great post! It is hard to say sorry at times. However, hanging on to anger and resentment can take away so much from oneself and from a relationship. This is a great reminder. Have a great night my friend!

Mama Hen

Under Her Wings said...

What a great post, Judy. It seems that often we must be the one to initiate a response, even if it is to be rejected. I have seen that side of it, and it doesn't feel good; but the blessing is that our conscience is cleansed. I always told my children, and now my grandchildren (#13 on the way!) not to just say, "I'm sorry," but to say, "Will you forgive me for....." My favorite verse for the children was Col.3:23, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgive you." Thanks for the good reminder.

Yenta Mary said...

This is a beautiful post with so much truth and wisdom! And it's interesting -- we were just talking about this very issue at our staff meeting yesterday morning. Acknowledge someone's feelings, apologize, THEN explain. Not retaliate, not browbeat, but explain if needed ... perhaps it was a mere misunderstanding, or a communication error, or an erroneous expectation. But acknowledgement of the wound and and apology for the hurt are so critical, and the only way to really then begin any healing ....

Cris said...

Love the photo and love the sentiment of the post. Also love that you address the passive aggressive apology ;)

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