It happens to all of us. A situation arises where we feel we deserve an apology…but don’t get it.
Think for a moment about Jesus on the cross. As He was being brutalized and mocked, He still had enough love to say, forgive them…
Luke 23:34 (NKJV)
34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[a]
And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Think about the fact that Jesus offered this forgiveness and love, without an apology. It’s one thing that the Romans crucified Him, but His own people…those closest to Him consented to and called for His death.
One of the most difficult things to do is move forward with people that we feel owe us an apology…especially if they’re someone close to us.
Yes we still have to work with and relate to people who aren’t close to you, but how do you avoid the lack of apology turning into resentment and becoming a wall in your close relationships.
You may find yourself thinking…
“How can they be so content acting like nothing happened…acting as if they didn’t hurt me?
You may have said to yourself…
“If they loved me, they would apologize.”
Yes, it’s not easy, but here are 9 tips to help you move forward in your relationships without an apology…
- BE READY TO FORGIVE IF AND WHEN THEY APOLOGIZE. Sometimes if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t want an apology…because it takes away our excuse to be angry. If they apologize and you don’t accept it, the burden has shifted from God to you.
- DON’T JUDGE THEIR APOLOGY IF AND WHEN THEY GIVE IT. When they come to you and apologize, don’t judge their apology by saying that they didn’t mean it or it wasn’t sincere. Especially if you didn’t like the tone. Don’t find yourself saying their apology wasn’t good enough. Even if they weren’t sincere…many times when we do what God has told us to do, we ‘don’t feel like it’, but God still honors our faith, effort and obedience. Sometimes when we apologize, we don’t feel like it, but in our heart we want to do what’s right.
- DON’T LET THE ENEMY ‘FLIP-THE-SCRIPT’. Realize that when you remain upset because you haven’t gotten an apology, the enemy has tricked you into not forgiving them for not apologizing to you.
- REALIZE THAT THEY MAY NOT BE AS SPIRITUALLY MATURE AS YOU. Apologizing isn’t easy. It takes spiritual maturity to do so. If you feel they ought to be strong enough to apologize, realize that they might not be as spiritually as you. In fact, the bible tells us the strong must bear the failings of the weak (Romans 15:1 NIV).
- REALIZE WHEN YOU ‘VE GOTTEN SOMETHING BETTER THAN AN APOLOGY. Even if they haven’t apologized, if they have stopped the behavior that hurt you…if they aren’t doing the same thing anymore…if they have clearly moved on as if nothing happened…if they’ve completely turned around, but not apologized, you’ve gotten something better than an apology – you’ve gotten REPENTANCE. Think of all the people who actually apologize to God, but don’t really change.
- FIND A ‘REPLACEMENT THOUGHT’ WHEN YOU THINK OF HOW THEY HURT YOU. Of course you’re going to think of what they did sometimes, which can make you angry all over again, So, when you think of what they did…When they don’t seem to appreciate your kindness…find a replacement thought. Think of the good times…the best times… Think of the sacrifices they’ve made for you…Think of kindness they’ve shown you in the past…Think of the times they made you smile…or, Think of how you’ve hurt someone and regret it.
- REALIZE THAT YOU HAVEN’T APOLOGIZED FOR EVERYTHING THAT YOU’VE DONE TO HURT OTHERS. Have you apologized for everything that you’ve done to hurt others? No! Because there are some people you offended and didn’t know you offended them. You can’t apologize for what you don’t know. Sometimes our words hurt, and we didn’t even know it…Sometimes our tone was not taken as we intended…Sometimes we did something hurtful and we didn’t even realize it. Those people are going on without an apology from you.
- PRAY ABOUT IT! Ask the Lord to give you the desire and strength to ‘love through’ the lack of an apology. Ask God to give you a heart that doesn’t NEED an apology to move on. This is another situation where Philippians 4:13 is most powerful…”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Moving on without an apology isn’t easy, but it is possible. This is another situation where Philippians 4:13 is most powerful…
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.