The Art of Accepting an Apology
Nobody ever talks about how to accept an apology. After all, forgiveness goes both ways: asking for forgiveness and actually forgiving. Most of us know how to ask for forgiveness - first you have to admit that you have sinned or done something wrong, and then go to the person/people you've wronged and ask for forgiveness. People rarely talk about how to accept an apology.
The most important thing is that we MUST forgive (see verse below):
"For if you forgive man when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14 & 15
The following are three common mistakes that many of us make when somebody apologizes:
This is the kind of person that puts a limit on an offense, even if it's just a mistake and not an intentional sin. The "three strikes and your out" mentality. If we are to truly forgive as the Lord has forgiven us then that means there is no limit. When someone apologizes say: "I forgive you" or "No problem" and then when that exact offense happens again say: "I forgive you" or "No problem" - say this again and again and again........
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.' "
Matthew 18:21 & 22
This type of "apology accepter" says that they forgive the offense at first but then they remember the wrong and use it in the future. They use your past offense as ammunition in future situations. Of course, we are not going to be able to totally forget the past and what has been done to us but NOT using this wrongdoing against the offender in the future is basically the same thing as forgetting the sin. God has forgotten our sins and we must do the same when we are wronged.
"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12
This is the type of person that makes fun of you first. They might say things like: "are you really that clumsy?" or "What a big baby" or "Just think before doing" (well, if it's a mistake there is no thinking first - it's not intentional, it's just a mistake and we all make them). This type of forgiveness is not sincere - it's not from the heart. God never belittles.
"......forgive your brother from your heart."
When accepting an apology always be sincere, don't keep track of the offenses and never hold the wrongdoing against the offender in the future.
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