So … what are you like at saying ‘sorry’? Most blokes are not very good really, we just tend to get all introspective and mull it over and over and over and then maybe give a garbled ‘Sorry’ and then add ‘But … ‘ and go into some pathetically feeble reason why it was not really our fault at all. Well, I do anyway.
When I was maintainer of the operations Room Command System on HMS Beaver (a type 22 Frigate) back in the late 1980s I had a bit of a run in with another Chief who was the guy who was in charge of the team who operated the kit that I maintained. He just kept winding me up …. he was just trying to provoke a reaction from ‘the Christian’ .. been there? When you just know someone is trying to get you to flash … well I held it together for quite a while and didn’t bite. But then one day he was right in my face saying that the kit was not working properly and how could he do his job when the kit was badly maintained etc etc. I lost it.
Stood in the middle of the Operations with the Captain sat in his chair, about 12 other operators working there and I just let rip at this guy. Was not good. As I shouted at him (without swearing I must say in my defence) I could see this wry little smile appear across his face … he was happy he had made me crack. I stormed off out of the Operations Room down the ladder into the computer room and just sat there seething. As I started to calm down a bit I started feeling a bit embarrassed and not sure what to do … when I felt this little voice saying ‘Go and apologise and ask him to forgive you’ … my instant reaction ? You’re having a laugh. But this thought would not go away … so that’s what I did. Back up to the Ops Rom, and in front of everyone apologised. I apologised for my reaction .. NOT for what I said because I had not said anything that I regretted, simply how I said (or shouted!) it all. This broke this other fella, he just did not know how to react .. he mumbled ‘OK’ or something and went and sat down. The Captain gave me a little nod of the head as I walked off .. he never said anything about it but that nod said it all to me – I had done the right thing and cleared the air.
Saying sorry is not always easy, asking for forgiveness is taking that a step further … it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as my scenario, but we all do stuff that is wrong and upsets those nearest and dearest to us. It is so important that we do not just stew on it and then it all comes out later, try and deal with it straight away and clear the air.
As a Christian, forgiveness is at the very centre of my faith. Forgiveness from God for going my own way against the way He wants me to live. That is called sin … and it’s only God who can forgive that sin. Just like I needed the Chief in the Ops Room to forgive me to clear the air, I need God to forgive me for when I get stuff wrong. And the only reason that can happen is because Jesus took all my ‘sins’ (bad stuff etc) when he had done nothing wrong. (That’s what we remember specifically next month at Easter) BUT even though he did that, I still have to recognise I foul up, say sorry and ask for forgiveness. Then and only then do I know that sense of peace that comes from God … just like I knew the Captain had seen and appreciated what had happened.
If you are reading this and not quite sure about it all and want to find out a bit more about what forgiveness, why not plan in a visit to a Church over Easter … hear the story of Jesus death and resurrection again and maybe even consider the place of Jesus and God in your life … what’s to lose?
Image Credit: Jan Erik Waider