Why this word is the most powerful…

I'm sorry, Jeff Struecker blog post

Every parent has experienced this situation… more than once. When your children are young and learning their language, there is one word that is extremely difficult for them to say.

Perhaps it is why this word so powerful. 

If English is not your native language, whatever the translation of this word is in your mother tongue is just as powerful as the English word… SORRY. 

If your children are old enough to talk, as soon as they learn to form sentences, they will wrestle with this word. I find it fascinating that people from 1 year old to 99 years old struggle to say, “I’m sorry.”  

What makes this so hard to say?  The English word sorry is very easy to pronounce.  So, why do we have such a hard time saying it?

After spending more than the last 20 years counseling people, I’ve seen many adults act like children when it comes to saying, “I’m sorry.” Let’s take a look at why the word sorry is so powerful and how you can learn to use it to change your relationships. 

It’s hard to say

“I’m sorry” is often hard to say because of what stands behind it. Parents can be in for all-out war when insisting that their child say, “I’m sorry,” to another.  The problem is not how to pronounce the word. Rather, it can be a battle to convince a child to feel in his or her heart what this word represents.

This is a recent article that reminds adults that we sometimes need to go back to school to re-learn the relationship lessons from our childhood.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve see two people at odds with one another in my office for counseling who refuse to say, “I’m sorry.”  It seems like we never outgrow the struggle to say this word. Many adults will resist this word like the plague in an argument.

And “Sorry” is especially hard to say for people who are concerned about winning an argument. I see this most often in counseling when one person is more concerned about being right than healing a fracture in the relationships.   

It makes the biggest difference

We all know that the word “sorry” alone is meaningless if it’s not sincere.  I’m certain you’ve been in a situation more than once when someone offered you an insincere apology. Although they said the words, you knew that they didn’t really mean it. And therefore, the apology fell flat.

“I’m sorry” has great power in a relationship only when it comes from the sincere heart.  

Perhaps this is what makes parents so adamant about teaching their children to apologize when they’ve done wrong.  Parents know the power of an honest apology from first-hand experience. When the apology isn’t sincere, it falls flat.  Saying “sorry” can do more damage to the relationship than saying nothing at all when it is not genuine.

So, saying “I’m sorry” in human relationships can make a huge difference, but it is also the start of a genuine relationship with God the Father.  Here is the link to a time when David, the great King of Israel, had to learn to say, “I’m sorry” to God.

It changes people

When someone offers a humble, sincere apology, it has a profound impact on us. Those words have the potential to undo great harm in a relationship. I have sat in total amazement through thousands of hours of relationship counseling wondering why one person just couldn’t bring himself or herself to say, “I’m sorry.”

What is it about this word that is so difficult for us to say? What’s wrong in our heart that makes it so hard for us to recognize our faults?

If you are the kind of person that wrestles with these words, I want you to do a little bit of work this week. Will you make the conscious decision to put the relationship ahead of being right? Would you be willing to say, “I’m sorry,” because of the power that it has to do good in your relationship rather than hold on to hurt, just because you want to be right in an argument? 

Maybe you need the power of God to help you say, “I’m sorry,” and mean it right now.  I talked about the power of this word has to change family relationships in a sermon this week. Here’s a link where you can watch this recent message if you missed it. 

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