It was my second round of the “flu” in three weeks. Even though I didn’t share the first round with my brother, when he did catch a different strain 10 days later, he passed it on to me. It. Was. Awful. Coughing, sneezing, chills and fevers dominated our house. Jamie and I spent the weekend resting on opposite sofas each possessing our own tissue box and garbage bag filled with dirty tissues. Not the way I planned to spend our one weekend off from Mantour travel. On Saturday, we tried to push through and take care of ourselves. However, when my fever went up on Sunday, I gave up on independence and asked my Dad to throw some steaks on the grill and some baked potatoes into the oven for dinner. Honestly, I chose this meal for one reason: it is ridiculously easy to make and there was no way he could mess it up. Also, it kept the dish washing situation to a minimum. (I guess that’s two reasons.). Still the point was that this was a fool-proof meal. No muss. No fuss. Just food on the table that I didn’t have to cook. It was about mid afternoon when I told him what to do and then headed off for a nap hoping to wake up feeling better. I didn’t. Instead I woke up to my brother Jamie saying, “What is that smell? Something is burning.” The next thing I remember is my Dad asking what to do if baked potatoes explode in the oven. Seriously?!?!?!? How do you blow up a baked potato in the oven? And if I was too sick to cook what makes you think I’m now well enough to deal with your potato bomb? The next half hour was chaotic as my Dad bumbled through cooking what was left of dinner and I was seriously annoyed that he couldn’t just make a decent meal while we were sick. To be honest, this was not my finest hour. Although I don’t remember all of it (because I had a fever) I remember there came a point where I used the small amount of vocal strength that I had to say some harsh and unkind words to my Dad about his lack of nurturing (and cooking) skills. Even though I don’t remember exactly what I said, it must have been bad because Jamie came behind me and “softened” my words, even thanking my Dad for cooking dinner. (Which in the moment really annoyed me). However, a few hours later, after I was fed and more awake, I began to realize that I was wrong. Just because the baked potatoes exploded all over the oven, didn’t mean my temper had to explode all over the house. Feeling convicted I sent my Dad a text (because at this point I could barely talk) saying, “I’m sorry that I yelled. I was wrong. Thank you for making dinner.” That night a little apology went a long way. Over the course of my life, I’ve learned that it usually does. You see, all of us are going to have moments in life where we are wrong—-where we hurt someone’s feelings, offend someone, or sin causing someone else pain. In those moments, I’ve learned that the best course of action isn’t to defend our words or choices, it isn’t to make excuses or justify why we deserved to do what we did. Instead, we need to humble ourselves, admit we were wrong, and ask forgiveness. Why did I make this choice? First of all, I was wrong. Like I said, just because the potatoes went “kaboom” didn’t mean I had to. When we do things wrong, it’s our job to make it right. Secondly, I apologized because the Bible says that we should. Matthew 5:23-24 says: This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. Did I know my Dad had something against me? Sure—-he was hurt that I didn’t appreciate his attempt at cooking but instead lost my temper. Hence, as a Christian I needed to go to him and say, “I was wrong, please forgive me” so that I could be right with God. Finally, I apologized because it broke the tension. I mean honestly, I was feeling bad enough. Who wants to add to the agony by creating a tense environment? Why sit around feeling guilty all night when I could just apologize and end the tension? A truth I learned from my Mom years ago is that a fight only ends when someone chooses to end it. In this incident, I was the one who needed to alleviate the “tension” by admitting that I was wrong and changing my attitude. Often in life, this is a good path to follow. You see, the truth is that often a little apology goes a long way. The bigger the offense or sin you’ve committed against someone, the bigger impact a sincere, heartfelt, humble apology will make. Now I know that apologizing isn’t always easy. Often we want to cling to our stubbornness and pride rather than admit we were wrong (especially if we can come up with a valid reason for why we were provoked—-like I was sick and you made a big mess in the kitchen) And yet what good is that doing anyone? Trust me, it isn’t. Instead, when we choose to walk in humility, to obey God and go and make things right with the ones that we’ve hurt, we walk away free and a door is open for God to work on the other person’s heart. So today I challenge you: Is there anyone that you owe an apology? Could a relationship begin the road to healing if you were the first one to break the ice and say, “I’m sorry?” What is keeping you from giving it a try? Isn’t obedience to God and a clear conscience worth the effort? Just a few things to think about. Personally, I’m glad that I made the choice to apologize. Now when we talk about the “exploding baked potatoes” it isn’t in anger but more of a joke. (A joke which several of my friends really enjoyed hearing about once I changed my attitude and started seeing the humor in the situation.) But it all started with a little apology that went a long way.
To Read More About A Biblical Approach to Mending Relationships in Finding Healing,