~ a guest post by Jasmine Baucham~
“Now, say you’re sorry.”
We know the picture well: two petulant children at odds with each other, both in a full-on pout, arms crossed, angry tears threatening to spill from their eyes. Mom stands in the middle playing referee. She will make everything right by telling them exactly what to say: I’m sorry. I was wrong. And then we can breathe a sigh of relief as they go on their merry ways, free to steal each other’s toys, pull each other’s hair, and smack each other upside the head another day. Whew.
We all have a certain idea of what it means to bring about the conclusion of an argument, or even a relationship. And, in most cases, it’s just a grown-up version of the petulant children: “I’m sorry.” “Me, too.” “I was wrong.” “Me, too.” “I love you.” “Me, too.” Whew.
Except, I’ve learned a hard lesson: sometimes, adults just don’t say I’m sorry.
And, even when they do, it just doesn’t make things... okay.
Gone are the days of half-hearted apologies and side-hugs that allow us to jump back into the world of Legos and finger-paints. Some hurts are just too deep, some wounds are just too searing, some lives are just too fragile for an apology to fix things.
And sometimes, apologies just don’t come.
The Lord has put forgiveness on my heart lately.
Colossians 3:12-13 says,
“Put on, then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.”
As the Lord has forgiven you.
Have you ever heard that saying that bitterness is like you drinking poison in the hopes that someone else will die?
The seeds of bitterness grow from those little battles that don’t end in reconciliation. They grow when we feel we’ve been wronged without apology, when we feel that someone has acted without a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, or forbearance towards us. At first, those seeds are sharp and cripplingly painful...but, after awhile, they settle into a dull, colorless ache that slowly siphons the joy from our hearts and our lives.
Maybe I’m the only one who’s ever been there before, in which case I freely admit that I have a wicked heart that constantly needs to be turned to the truths of God’s Word.
And here’s a truth that floored me the other day: I don’t need anyone to apologize to me, I don’t need to be vindicated in a temporal sense, I don’t need to be acknowledge as the victim, the wronged party, in order to experience closure. Because Christ either nailed the sins committed against me to the Cross, or he will exact judgment for them on that last day. Either way, it is finished. I am not bound to sorrow or bitterness until the chapter closes satisfactorily. Because it’s already done. And I’m free from it just like I’m free from the fetters of my own sin.
Free. Isn’t that an overwhelmingly beautiful thought: freedom in Christ? Free not to be offended or wounded or prideful! Free to bask in who he says I am! Free to prize reconciliation, because it’s a beautiful thing, but to realize that, even if it never comes, we are reconciled to the God of the universe through the sacrifice of Christ.
Those pouty children don’t even understand what a humble apology or tender forgiveness even is! But I’m learning the value of both these days, and it’s radical and revolutionary and humbling and joyful. And my heart is learning the beauty of closure that has nothing to do with someone saying the right words or doing the right things, and everything to do with who I am in Christ.
By Jasmine Baucham
Jasmine is the oldest of Voddie and Bridget Baucham's eight children. She is a homeschool graduate, an English major, and a sixth grade teacher at a classical school in Houston. She is also a published author who currently lives at home where she continues to assist her father in his research, is currently pursuing her master's in liberal arts at Houston Baptist university, and enjoys spending spare time with family, friends, and plenty of books.
Photo Credit: micagoto