Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, June 27, 2016
Feeling sheepish? The people to whom you apologize probably understand.
Today’s Scripture Focus: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
We are focusing on sin recovery principle number eight of 12: “We made a list of all persons we have harmed and are willing to make amends.”
Facts are not feelings. There are so many ways we could take this statement, but I’d like to focus on the context of our sin recovery principle. The fact is that we may have upset or in some other way harmed people with our behavior. We may have said something hurtful. We may have neglected to help someone who reached out to us in need. We may have stolen from, lied on, or even abused someone. Now, what?
We have talked extensively about making amends wherever possible. Hopefully, you have taken this counsel to heart, trusting that God would be with you.
Sometimes you feel relieved when you go through this process. However, there are also times you feel badly because the offended party may know more about the situation than before. Now you may have the look in their eyes, expression on their faces, or sound of their voice indelibly etched in your mind following your time of mending broken fences with them. I hope you realize that when people accept your apologies and reach out to let bygones be bygones or others support you as you work through these situations, that you are in a more powerful position than before despite the way you feel. Even if you do feel worse, it does not necessarily mean you are worse off. The fact is that you now have an ally who probably understands you more than you expected, and who may have offended someone else.
Our humanity unites us far more than it separates us. We have common feelings, thoughts, disappointments, struggles, etc. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to accept the support of even those we may have offended. After all, we need each other. Let the past stay in the past. Do not fear the future unless you plan on forgetting the valuable lessons you have learned along the way. We are stronger together than we are apart.
Accept people’s support, and be supportive in return. This is a great way to build good will and add value to the society around you.