Love means saying sorry, a lot
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is one of the most parodied movie lines in cinematic history, and for good reason. It is so blatantly wrong.
Real love requires an unending supply of apologies and forgiveness. We are human and we will make many mistakes in our relationships. However, if we are secure in who we are and already assured that God loves us no matter what, a lot of hurt feelings can be avoided.
God’s love “is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5).
Another version says that “love hardly even notices when others do it wrong.”
Now that’s the best way to avoid misunderstandings, confrontation, damaged feelings, and the need for forgiveness.
I learned a long time ago, especially in my work as a college president and pastor, just to believe in the best in people. If they say something or do something that may be personally offensive, I quickly tell myself that’s not what they meant. My wife calls me the “boy in the bubble” (I don’t think she means it as a compliment, but I take it that way), and so far no one has been able to burst that bubble.
The key is to forgive people even before they ask for it.
Lewis Smedes, author of Forgive and Forget, said that to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
We try to use unforgiveness as a weapon to hurt others, but like a knife without a handle, it only hurts the one who holds on to it.
A more difficult challenge for me, as the insensitive bubble boy, is to not offend others.
From the Bible: Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phil. 2:4).
When you are constantly thinking about others and caring about how they feel, you are unlikely to hurt their feelings.
If you do, then love demands an apology – who is right or wrong is not the issue.
It’s one of the most powerful principles we can teach our children, and the best way to teach it is to provide an example for them to follow.
Have you ever made a mistake with your children and asked for their forgiveness?
This is not a sign of weakness, but of great inner strength.
Asking for and extending forgiveness is not easy.
Smedes goes on to say: Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk …
Forgiving seems almost unnatural.
Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do.
But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule.
Rob Buzza is lead pastor at NorthRidge Church.