For the next few days, we are going to talk about one of the most important things we will ever learn to do as Christians: take responsibility and reconcile. As those who have been forgiven much and who walk in the freedom that comes with that forgiveness, we have to “pony up” and humble ourselves, asking others to forgive us. It’s a hard thing to do because of the pride in our hearts, but it ultimately brings about transformation and abundant life.
To get started on a journey of asking others for forgiveness, here’s an important and critical step you can take: take responsibility without defending yourself. Whether it’s your spouse, friend, coworker, parent or child, very often, we say things like, “I’m so sorry I did this, but the only reason I did it is because you did this.” What we don’t realize is that in saying that, we have basically negated our apology because we are still shifting blame to the person we are supposed to be asking for forgiveness.
Everybody knows there are two sides of a story, but the best apologies are ones that don’t include any mention of what the other person did — the “no strings attached” kind. Take responsibility and say “I’m sorry” with your whole heart; anything less and you would be better off saying nothing at all. Assume Jesus’ heart of humility as you approach another person and reconciliation will be the natural result.