Well, I’m certainly not the first person blog this, and this may not be the first blog you’ve seen in recent weeks regarding apologies and forgiveness in light of recent events of politicians, athletes, and musicians “blowing it” and then offering public apologies. But, we would be re-missed if we didn’t discuss this topic on RWAV for Train Up Tuesdays.
As parents, we can be thankful for public examples that allow for teachable moments. It seems to make it easier for us to use others’ poor (or good) examples. However, why stop there? Any basic lesson in how we learn shows that we learn best by what is consistently modeled before us as opposed to simply what we are told. In other words, won’t our children learn best not by teachable moments afforded us by individuals/celebrities with whom they have no relationship, but rather moments modeled to them by those they look up to the most - their parents/family? When was the last time that you, Mom, held your child in your arms and apologized for “losing it” with them or for portraying a less-than-desirable character trait? Do you see it as “unnecessary” or think that it makes no difference? Please reconsider. While I think “I’m sorry” is a great first phrase to learn to say or to sign, we often “force” our children to say “I’m sorry” for their mistakes just as we tell them to say “thank you” without explaining why it is important or without encouraging them to learn to express this themselves (yes, I’m guilty of this at times, too!). When they witness the sincerity of our own apologies, they learn lessons in empathy and why it helps to say “I’m sorry.”
If you are an FB-er (Facebooker), no doubt you or one of your friends mentioned the apologies of Joe Wilson, Kanye West, or Serena Williams. I found it interesting that most people are focusing on whether or not they thought the apologies were sincere. It caused me to question “How many times are we supposed to say we are ‘sorry’ for it to be considered legit? How many tears, quivers in the voice, or other expressions does it take to make the apology acceptable?” This led me to recall another question regarding forgiveness, “How many times must I forgive?”. As Christians, it is our duty to be quick to forgive, not once, but often...even if there aren’t continual apologies, and perhaps, even if the apologies don’t meet our expectations of how they should sound. Our accepting of the apology, however, should always sound believable.
Mom, are you quick to forgive your spouse and your child? Is there sincerity in your voice when you say “I forgive you.”