Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The gospel opportunity in apology

Clothing to reach people — shirt by Steve Grace

Many people despise the thought of genuine, heartfelt apology, unless it is something they require from another person who has transgressed them. Then it’s fundamental to moving forward relationally.
Apology is seen as a weakness, but I contend that it is paradoxically one of our strongest strengths. Particularly in glorifying God. Even for winning people back into our hearts through a ministry of reconciliation.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:22,
“I have become all things to all people,
that I might by all means save some.”
What I think he is saying is, I don’t care what I need to do within the moral realm to reach people — it’s all about them; it’s no longer about me. Sacrificing ‘me’ is no longer something I think of as sacrifice, if the gospel is advanced.
Apology is where our sinful nature is an advantage — and there we were all lamenting how imperfect we are.
We win people over through being fallible, through being earnest in our apology, even as we get our relationships wrong. And we suddenly don’t need to be perfect or at our best at all times.
Apology is a redemptive pathway.
Sometimes all we have to offer a relationship is apology, but this is a powerful thing to offer the relationship. Our apology may not be accepted, and that’s okay. Our hearts are right about the matter. That’s what counts. We have a clear conscience. And we are ready for the Holy Spirit to work in the other person.
The gospel’s great opportunity in relationship is not when everything is fine, but when we’re in conflict, and we find a way, through apology, to restore trust. Restoration of trust is not granted without repentance. But as soon as people see how serious we are in putting the relationship first healing can occur.
Sorry is the bridge spanning the relational divide, brokenness on the one side to reconciliation on the other.

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