Recently, I was reading a book that contained a story about those who have been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The story demonstrated that when such people get past the denial phase, they shift their priorities and focus on what really matters most in life.
One of them is relationships.
In 7 Ways to Destroy a Friendship, I talked about the main factors which hinder friendship.
One of the things which repairs broken relationships is apologies.
I’ve been a Christian for many years, and I can count on one hand the times when a fellow believer made an apology to me.
Last week, I received a call from a person I hadn’t heard from in years.
He called to apologize for something he had done to me in the past.
I was monumentally impressed.
My response essentially was that he was forgiven even before he made the call, and I had harbored no ill feelings toward him.
But his apology provided fertile ground to renew our relationship, which had been lost.
Whenever we violate Matthew 7:12 with respect to a person we know — or even don’t know — saying things about or to them that we’d never want said about or to us, the Spirit of God will put His finger on it (if we are sensitive to Him).
And the spiritual instinct to apologize to them will follow.
Here are 3 reasons why disciples of Jesus should apologize to others whenever we treat them in a way we wouldn’t want to be treated. (There are others, but these three stand out in my mind right now.)
1. It clears your conscience, facilitating further transformation into Christ’s image.
2. It restores (or begins) a relationship with another believer on the right foundation.
3. It embodies and displays the humility of Jesus Christ, thus giving glory to God.
Consider this an encouragement and a reminder to keep short accounts with people.
It’s also a challenge to contemplate the relationships you’ve had in the past and see what can be done — on your part — to repair them.
All told, apologies demonstrate that someone is truly living by Christ’s life, for it takes uncommon insight for a person to recognize when they’ve mistreated another human being (which is usually rationalized in their minds) and deep humility to let them know that they’re sorry for what they’ve done.
As always, this brings us back to Matthew 7:12 – there is no more important word made by Jesus. It’s the very nature of divine life.