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Posts tagged ‘truly repentant’

Please Break This Rule

SOURCE:  Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 120.

When our wrongs are too obvious to ignore, we practice what I call the 40/60 Rule.

It goes something like this:

“Well, I know I’m not perfect, and I admit I am partially to blame for this problem. I’d say that about 40 percent of the fault is mine. That means 60 percent of the fault is hers. Since she is 20 percent more to blame than I am, she should be the one to ask for forgiveness.”

I never actually say or think these exact words, but I often catch myself resorting to this tactic in subtle ways. By believing that my sins have been more than cancelled by another’s sins, I can divert attention from myself and avoid repentance and confession.

Food for Thought

Jesus tells the perfect “40/60 Rule” story in Luke 18:10-14.

In this passage, Luke says that Jesus addresses the story to those “who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.”

This is the story:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Next time you’re tempted to invoke the 40/60 Rule to minimize your part in a conflict, remember that few subjects raise more disdain in Jesus than moderated mercy or a “righteousness ranking” where we give ourselves an unequivocal first place vote.

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“I’m Sorry. I Was Wrong. Please Forgive Me.”

SOURCE:  Dr. Robert Kellemen

I was recently the recipient of a humble, heart-felt apology where the person sincerely asked for forgiveness. How rare that is!

It made me think of various ways people “apologize” and how we might respond.

The “No Apology, Ever!” Person

Some people are like Fonzie from the old Happy Days TV series. Remember? He could never even mouth the words “I was wwww-r-o-n-g.”

Some folks are like that—they’re never in the wrong. You and others always are.

What is a biblical response in cases like this? What biblical principles of reconciliation do you follow with someone who is never willing to seek reconciliation? Are you and I ever guilty of this way of responding to our own sin?

The “If You Were Offended” Person

Then there’s the person who is a master at the apology that is not an apology at all. In fact, their apology really blames others.

“I’m sorry if you were offended by what I said.” Or, “I’m sorry if you were hurt by what you thought I did.”

The tenor, the tone, the words—they all communicate, “What I did wasn’t wrong. You’re just waaaay too sensitive.”

What is a biblical response in cases like this? What biblical principles of reconciliation do you follow with someone whose apology is really an accusation? Are you and I ever guilty of this way of responding to our own sin?

The “You Were Wrong and I Forgive You” Person

Somewhat the opposite of the previous “styles” is the person who brings up forgiveness only as a way of expressing alllll the ways you sinned against her or him. They use the words, “I forgive you.” However, the bulk of their words are about your wrong.

“I forgive you for the way you’ve always been so condescending and judgmental. I forgive you for the way you hurt me and offended me with your cruel and discouraging words. I forgive you for all the ways your self-centered, arrogant actions have hurt me and countless others…”

What is a biblical response in cases like this? What biblical principles of reconciliation do you follow with someone who seems less interested in reconciliation and more interested in humiliation? Are you and I ever guilty of this way of responding to our own sin?

The “I’m Sorry; I Apologize” Person

This “style” sure seems right about being wrong. The person says, “I’m sorry. I apologize.”

This is a great start. However, by itself it may not lead to true reconciliation. In this “style,” there are no specifics. There is no admission of wrong, guilt, or sin. And, there is no request for forgiveness—which is so central to moving toward reconciliation.

What is a biblical response in cases like this? What biblical principles of reconciliation do you follow with someone who apologizes but does not admit wrong or ask forgiveness? Are you and I ever guilty of this way of responding to our own sin?

The “I’m Sorry; I Was Wrong; Here Are My Excuses” Person

No one apologizes using these exact words. However, the sense is more of excusing behavior than accepting responsibility.

“I’m sorry. I was wrong. Everybody was jumping on me all day long. My parents were dysfunctional when I was growing up. I was having a bad day. The boss was a jerk. No one ever taught me how to relate or handle my emotions. I have this medical condition. Your words and actions were just too much for me or any normal person to handle. And…”

What is a biblical response in cases like this? What biblical principles of reconciliation do you follow with someone who blames others (including you) for their wrong? Are you and I ever guilty of this way of responding to our own sin?

The “I’m Sorry. I Was Wrong. Please Forgive Me” Person

This “style” is how I was recently approached. It’s the person who says, “I’m sorry. I was wrong for __________.” They fill in the blank with the specific way(s) they sinned against you. No excuses.

They continue. “I sinned. Would you please forgive me? How can I make this right? How can we reconcile and get our relationship right?” They move from admission to the offer of a conversation about reconciliation.

What is a biblical response in cases like this? What biblical principles of reconciliation do you follow with someone who is seeking biblical reconciliation? Are you and I ever this mature in responding to our own sin?

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