As a teen, and young adult, I listened to a lot of music that today, as a parent, I wouldn’t let my kids listen to.
With all the arguments, disagreements, and discussions out there now about shielding our children, I still feel that way.
We are in an age where media, be it videos, NetFlix, PureFlix, Redbox, Disney Channel, our magazines, YouTube, it all has an impact on us, and our feelings, beliefs, and emotions, and music is not exempt from that level of coercion and power.
If in doubt, think to what kinds of music and songs you listen to when you’re sad.
Do you reach for an uplifting Christian CD to try and pull you out of the move? Perhaps a catchy, carefree Taylor Swift song? Or do you reach for a sad country song or pop rendition to further sink into unhappiness?
If you answered sad song to match your sad mood, you’re not alone.
And today, the song from my adolescence that comes to mind from Timbaland and One Republic is Apologize and the lyric that is twinging my heart string is, “It’s too late to apologize…”
I want to take a moment and say that, as a Christian, I have a strong stance on the behavior of forgiving.
It’s biblical. A very important cornerstone of the faith actually.
Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Wouldn’t you want someone to apologize to you if they’ve done you wrong? Many of us would say yes, which in turn means that we need to practice that action too.
Forgiveness is in fact not about the other person though so much as it is about you. Let me explain.
When you’re angry with someone. So angry. So angry that you feel like the power and heat of your anger should physically burn the other person. That kind of anger.
They’ve wronged you, oh how they’ve wronged you. And in your mind, they should know it. And they should sorry.
They’ve done bad and they should feel bad, right?
Here’s me lifting that veil for a moment and letting in the light.
The other person? They may NOT know that they’ve angered you.
They may NOT know that they’ve hurt you.
And you’re thinking, “Wait? What?!” And that thought is followed by you internally screaming, “But how could they NOT KNOW?!?”
And yet… truth be told… they may… NOT.
So let’s go back.
They’ve hurt you. Saddened you. Angered you. Wronged you.
And you want them to apologize so that you can then…. forgive them.
“Apology accepted,” you want to say.
Am I right?
But then, so, what happens when they DON’T apologize?
Going back to what I just said, they may not even know an apology is in order. Or that you’re waiting on one.
Let’s bring in the biblical principle of forgiveness. And I’ll explain how it’s about you. Not them.
Forgiveness is about you, because without you forgiving, you’re holding onto that hurt, that anger, that mistrust, you’re holding onto that harmful little flame in your heart. And it’s burning you. It’s hurting you. It’s doing you more harm than good.
YOU are the one holding onto it.
And the only way to let go of it, is to forgive.
Forgiveness helps heal you. Not them. The other person isn’t the one holding the fire in your heart. You are.
And you need to let it go… for YOUR sake.
Forgive without them apologizing. Forgive without them making it right.
Because honestly, that may never happen. That’s just how it is. It may and if it does, great! But depending on the situation and the person, it may not.
And not only will letting go of that hurt, that hatred, that anger, be freeing, it will allow you more opportunity in the future.
If you hold onto that hurt, it will make you jaded. It will make you bitter. Like bittersweet chocolate. Not the dark kind, not the milk kind, not the melt in your mouth not in your hand kind, but the bitter ..kind.
And if you even do get an apology, it may go down like this.
“I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” And you go through the motions. “Apology accepted. I forgive you.”…. but then what about tomorrow?
What about next time?
What about the next time that person hurts you. Or says something that makes you sad.
The cycle starts all over. Because an apology means NOTHING…. without a change of heart… and a change of action.
And a one time apology… won’t do that.
Change takes…. time.
The next time someone hurts you, you don’t want an apology. You want a change in heart, and a change in behavior.
If you’re lucky you’ll get one of those.
Forgive them… any way.