The power of saying I’m sorry
A dear friend of mine expressed how he had said the wrong things to his children. I am writing this piece for him and all who are dealing with the aftermath of the pain caused to others by the things they said. How many of us would take back so many of the things we have said without thinking? Someone speaks to you on a bad day when your life is filled with the stress of balancing work and family. You snap back saying, “I’m too busy to deal with you right now!”
You say something to your teenage son or daughter without thinking. It is a cutting remark attacking something they did that you think is wrong.
You can’t sleep at night. You say to your spouse, “If I could only find the off switch for my mind!” Those to do lists of a myriad of tasks to be done are taken into sleep with you. You wake up already feeling exhausted. You have little or no patience for others. Then, in that moment someone needs you, you have nothing left to give.
You drink several cups of coffee just to keep going. You take pills loaded with caffeine to keep you awake so you can function. You may even take uppers such as amphetamines as a stimulant to temporarily increase your mental altertness. You crash and head into burnout. This is when a quiet volcano of built-up resentment about regrets about the things you could have done with your life eats away at you. The supressed rage surfaces and erupts. You are terse with others. You don’t mean the things you say. You try to understand your teenage son or daughter, but have no desire to go into their world and the stresses they face, as they seek to discover their identity and purpose in life.
I know that when I say something wrong to my wife, Karen, I want to have not only a rewind button, but one that also erases from her memory that awful thing I said. I feel crumby inside. My stomach churns because I have hurt her. When I do that I say, “Darling, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” If the thing I said is really hurtful she takes a number of hours and perhaps a day or two to forgive me. What we strive to do and don’t always get right is to follow the wise Biblical teaching to not let the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4:26) . I like how the New English Translation puts it. “…do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger.”
How many of us get angry and say something without thinking? There are people who are blunt with you. When the critical comment comes from your spouse, family, friends or colleagues and you have your emotional walls down, the blow hits hard. You feel violated because all your defenses are down. You are like the crew on the U,S.S. Enterprise on Star Trek when their shields are down because they are attacked by an enemy space ship. You shake inside. The person hits your weak spot. Trust has been broken. Can the damage inflicted be repaired? I believe it can be if you are willing to say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me” and really mean it.
Be there for your spouse and your children. Take time from your busy schedule to go to a park, have a picnic and play games. Unplug from your lap top, tablet, ipad or iphone and spend quality time with those you love. Listen to each other. Spend hours together lsistening to music you both like. Get your kitties to do a kitty dance like I do with our cats, William and Catherine. William says resigned to this intrusion into his important kitty surveillance work, “Kitty daddy.Tell me when it’s over!” Catherine says giving me a warning meow, “You have ten seconds to let me go or I will do things to you I won’t be responsible for.” Talk more than staying so glued to your electronic communication gadgets that you lose sight of those who are asking for some of your time. They need to hear you say, “I love you.”
I leave you with this thought to reflect upon.
Co-authored with Karen Osborne
Kevin Osborne, B.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, BTh Canada Christian College & Graduate School, D.D., D Sc., Diplomate in Creative Ministry and his wife, Karen, B.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, graduate divinity student Trinity College University of Toronto, are graduate Christian counseling students at St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin is a certified Christian counselor. He is a member of The Word Guild, a Christian writer’s group in Canada.
Posted on May 21, 2015, in On Relationship and tagged anger, Bible, child, children, family, father, friends, healing, life, love, loving others, mind's seat, pain, relationship, thoughts, Work, wounded. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.