Read Part One here.
One of the most difficult and courageous things a person can say (if said truly from the heart) is “I was wrong to _______. I care about how that made you feel (and demonstrate it). Will you forgive me?” Make sure to get a response from the other person from their heart so there can be closure to the matter. Depending on the offense, their response may indicate you have more homework to do to be able to understand the depth of the wound. And they may need time to “unload.”
If we crawl into the other person’s skin and try to feel what they must be feeling, it goes a long way in being able to care for them from our hearts and help them heal. It may not be convenient or comfortable, but what is more important than relationships with those close to us? The alternative is miserable. Solomon said, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
I’ve been amazed how many Christians don’t have any idea how to go back to someone they have hurt and take responsibility for what they have done. If parents don’t model it to their children and admit when they make mistakes and ask forgiveness (rather than just “sorry”), it is no wonder. If we have a spouse, it is of paramount importance to keep offenses healed in order to keep a strong relationship.
Jesus said it’s no use doing great deeds for Him if we don’t have our relationships mended. In Matthew 5:23&24 He says “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
May God bless you with a caring heart and with fulfilling relationships!