I hate apologizing.
I really, really hate it. You know why? Apologizing means admitting you were wrong. In front of other people. And letting them get the last word. It’s admitting defeat and then letting the other person control the situation. It’s just horrible. Having to apologize can ruin my day. I know this is a terrible thing to say, but there you go.
I have to apologize a lot – too often. But I really try and do it. The reason is this: I see other people sometimes who get into arguments with people who they might have been friends with for years and years. Then they get into that one bad argument and bam, it’s out the window. This almost happened to me with one of my oldest and best friends, and quite possibly the best person you’ll ever meet. Long story short, I said things I shouldn’t have that were offensive, and we stopped talking.
Well, I did NOT want to admit I was wrong. I wasn’t! I was right! Why was he being unreasonable? Why was everybody siding with him? You can see already how insidious this attitude gets – already I was developing a persecution complex based on nothing but my paranoia and bitterness. I was jumping at shadows.
Well, this went on for months. It went on past my High School graduation. I was worried I would never speak to him again.
Over those months I tried, hard, to really make an effort to look at things objectively. It wasn’t easy. But I tried, and eventually I saw how unreasonable I was being. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was forced to accept that I had to be the one to apologize if I really valued our friendship, because it was my fault. It’s STILL hard for me to accept this. There’s always, even now, a little voice in the back of my mind saying “But that’s not true! It was BOTH your faults! He needs to take responsibility too! Why are you taking all of the blame???”
I try to ignore it. If some of my friends read this they may not buy that but really, I do. And in this case I swallowed my pride and tried to ignore all of those thoughts so I could give a real apology, taking full responsibility for everything. I was a coward about it, messaging him online with the apology because I couldn’t stand to do it in person, but I did it. And it was worth it – the next time he saw me he ran up and gave me a bear hug. We don’t see each other as much as I’d like, but we’re still great friends.
Today was another example of a time where I had to apologize. This situation was actually fairly complex, so it’s hard to really go into detail. The point is, I was discussing things with two friends that I was mad about, they brought in somebody else to discuss things with me who I was also annoyed at, both of my friends tried to tell me to calm down, I became frustrated that nobody was listening to me, I’m right and they’re not…you know the drill.
Well, by the end of the argument I looked pretty bad, with a lot of egg on my face. But I was still mad at everybody for the way I was treated! But it didn’t matter. Those were emotions I had to get past. Objectively, I was wrong and they were right. So, I gave a long apology, then I talked to one person who I had exchanged particularly heated words with and apologized to him personally. I was worried he thought I might have been insincere with my first apology, since I made it in front of other people (well, in front in a computerized sense).
That ruined my day. I’m in a bad mood right now. I’m still angry. In particular, I’ve asked one of my friends to apologize to ME because he hurt my feelings, and his version of an apology was “I’m sorry”. This is a person who I’ve called as close as a brother in the past, so what he said really upset me. And yet, I’m starting to wonder. Should I just accept that apology and move on? Should I hold out? Or should I just walk away and stop talking to him? Because that’s the one thing I don’t want to do.
I think apologizing is a good thing for me, though. I’m stubborn and opinionated, and it forces me to learn humility. I think this is God’s way of teaching me a lesson-to accept that I can’t control everything and that there are better men out there than me. I’m just a lowly sinner, and only by admitting my faults can I overcome them.
Forget forgiveness. Forgiveness is the easy part. Apologizing, though-that’s hard. I think apologizing to somebody is something society needs to emphasize more than forgiving somebody.
Don’t let the devil win. He loves bitterness. Bitterness can only be overcome by love. Do you love somebody enough to admit when you’re wrong?
Food for thought.