Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Road to "I'm Sorry"

Integrity, is defined by dictionary.com as 1) the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.  2) the state of being whole and undivided.

I’ve been thinking a lot about integrity lately.  Well by lately I mean the last few days.  See I was supposed to be one place and was being paid to be there.  I missed another thing that I was supposed to be at.  I had an unwritten contract with the second that I would be there whenever possible.  I relied on social media to let those effected know I wouldn’t be there but it failed.  Turned out everyone but the leader knew I wouldn’t be there. 
My integrity was called into question.  One party had their feelings hurt and lashed out thought I did it on purpose and called me deceitful twice. That bothered me and I lashed out as well.  I guess it still kinda does because I felt I needed to mention the number of times here.
Several people had let our leader down that night and he was embarrassed and hurt understandably.  He took our absence as a reflection of our respect for him.  I was unaware of the other issues from that night because I have been kinda away from facebook lately so I thought it was just me. I post something then I disappear.  So there we were.  My integrity was in question and I had offended a brother.   
Here is the thing, I didn’t think I did anything wrong.  The other party was positive I did. Not only was he positive but he was sure that it was done on purpose.

What do we do in a situation like this?  It’s easy to get angry. I did, I spent about 3 hours just steaming. Why should I apologize if I didn’t do anything wrong?  It was that kind of attitude that prevailed that day.  
I’m sure neither of us was even thinking about it my the next day. Let alone 4 days later when Kelly and I were talking about integrity. 

So I googled Integrity.  It wasn’t the first part of the definition I was really concerned about. Honesty and moral principles are something as a parent I am very conscious of.  I try (and I’m sure fail occasionally) to live with that part of the definition in mind.

It’s the second part that I’ve been thinking about.  The state of being whole and undivided.  I have been on a high since feb 2012 and that high has crested.  I find myself at times more focused on me and the world than God and the Kingdom.
I was so focused on myself and the things that I had going that week. I was butt-hurt myself because people didn’t respond to my genuine pleas for help. I took it as a reflection on me. I was stressed and honestly I all but ignored God for that week.  
My integrity was compromised by my division.  My lack of wholeness.

Paul talks about putting on the new man in Eph 4:24.  I had done that. Like a brand new suit of clothes.  I had put on the whole outfit of the new man and I looked good.   As time went on I loosened the tie of the new man.  Eventually I removed the jacket as well. I was slowly stepping back.  I found myself this week with jacket discarded and the sleeves rolled up.  
My attitude was, I was tired and I was busy and I didn’t do anything wrong!
Really? Let’s look at this thru a biblical lens.  I offended a brother.  I hurt my witness and I got angry. Not a righteous anger, but an anger due to a “perceived” wrong doing. 
While my actions were not wrong, my reaction was.   I’ve struck out to find a biblical route to apology.

In an article from the Harvard Business Review  titled Why “I’m sorry” Doesn’t Always Translate. One of the author’s points is that in the U.S. an apology is seen as an admission of wrongdoing (“I am the one who is responsible”) while in Japan an apology is seen as an eagerness to repair a damaged relationship (“It is unfortunate that this happened”). 
I googled “Apology in the Bible” and was surprised to find that all the verses brought up were about confession and forgiveness.

The biblical model is for the wrongdoer to confess the wrongdoing, express sorrow and ask for forgiveness.   Asking forgiveness does carry with it the responsibility for the actions.  
 
          The offended party is expected biblically to forgive the person. 
Both parties then need to change their thoughts, attitudes, outlook of the past problem and genuinely reconcile to reorient their life and behavior to a more godly way. If a person really is sorry, that person will change so it won’t happen again.

It’s about more than the embarrassment of taking your share of responsibility. It;s about taking on all the responsibility if need be to restore the relationship with a brother.
It’s about seeing your error, and not doing it again.


Thanks For Reading

Alan

Unofficial soundtrack to this blog: 
Audio Adrenaline: Spirit Burn,  Beautiful, Ocean Floor
Fellowship Creative: Grace on Top of Grace, Glory in the Highest
Hillsong United: Oceans (Where my feet fail)


 

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