Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3514

Jump Start # 3514

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

  My wife and I caught the first three episodes of the Chosen season four in the movie theatre the other day. Several really good parts and a few liberties. But there is one scene which is really intriguing. Matthew, who still acts dorky in many ways comes to Jesus wanting to know why Peter won’t apologize to him for treating him so terribly. As Jesus moves Matthew through several thoughts, he realizes that he is the one who needs to apologize to Peter, not the other way around. Matthew asks, “what if he won’t forgive?” The actor playing Jesus says, “Apologies lead to repentance. Forgiveness is a gift that the other person may nor may not give.”

  That statement is something that we struggle with. I think we have it in our minds that if I apologize then you have to forgive, as if you are obligated and owe that to me. Forgiveness is built upon grace and grace is always a gift. It’s hard to understand that when we have tried to make things right by apologizing, why the other person refuses to forgive. We have done what we were supposed to do. We expect the other person to do what they ought to do. But sometimes they don’t, or worse, they won’t. And because of that, some become reluctant to apologize. They will only apologize if they believe the other person will forgive them. If they are not sure, then they will not apologize.

  This back and forth, emotional tetter-totter, strains relationships in the home and the church. The scene from the Chosen, though not found in Scriptures, shows the internal battle each faced with bad feelings and the need to do what is right. Matthew struggled with that. Peter struggled with that. And, you and I struggle with that. We know what the right thing to do, but those hurt feelings, and moments of anger towards the other person sure makes it hard to go and apologize.

  Years ago I heard a radio program in which listeners called in with their definition of “forever.” One person said waiting for the light to change at a certain intersection was forever. Another said, waiting for their child to get ready was forever. Another said, waiting for their tax return was forever. But the most telling one, was a woman who said, “forever is waiting for my husband to apologize.”

  Here are some thoughts for us:

  First, our choice to do what is right cannot be based upon how we think others will react. Standing up for what is right, speaking up, drawing a line in the sand, saying, “No,” often comes with consequences. And, if we allow those consequences to dictate what we should do, then we often will not do the right thing.

  If you have done wrong, go and apologize and be genuine about that. The other person may use the opportunity to belittle you, attack you and only pour on more guilt. That won’t be the outcome that you wished for, but, you have done the right thing. You apologize because what you did or what you said was wrong. Even if the other person gives you a pass on that, your apology is built upon the fact that you realize that you were out of line and did something that was not appropriate. Apologies lead to repentance. Forgiveness is a gift.

  Second, when our eyes are focused upon Jesus, we will not worry so much about how others will respond. Doing the right thing are the steps of righteousness. Righteous living comes from doing what is right. And, right is determined by God. Playing imaginary conversations in our minds only slows down what we ought to do that is right. Do what you know is right, period. Do what is right, even if others say you don’t have to. Do what is right, even if others make the situation worse. You do what is right, because that is what the Lord wants you to do.

  Third, and, when the tables are turned and someone comes and apologizes to us, don’t run them through the mill and make them feel worse. Forgiveness is a gift and be quick to offer that gift. The bridge of fellowship that we walk across is supported by love, grace, forgiveness and the goodness we find in the Lord.

  It’s hard to apologize. It’s hard to admit wrong. But this is something we must do to continue on together. Our failure to do that, leads to hurt feelings and broken relationships. And, people remember. We may forget a compliment, but we’ll remember a hurt for a long, long time.

  Apologies lead to repentance…forgiveness is a gift.