Posts Tagged ‘sorry’

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 8.40.17 AMWe all have inner voices, voices from our childhood, or younger years, that speak to us still. They sometimes speak louder than the voices of our adult years, as though imprinted permanently onto our brains.

In the mid 1970s, when I was just a child, I remember the voice of Elton John singing,

“… sorry seems to be the hardest word”.
Those words imprinted themselves within me. I grew up determined to say that hardest word. I am not always wise enough or strong enough to do this, but it is goal, reminded to me by that memory from childhood).
I also struggle to understand why it is so hard for some to say. I struggle to understand why we would allow ourselves to be so weak as to not speak that word that gives strength, both to the one speaking it, and the one hearing it.
Like this song message, I also have another, associated, memory that goes with this message. So many times I remember, as a child, having wronged one of my younger brothers, and my parents instructing forcing me to apologize, to say sorry. Many times my apology was just an act of going through the motions, with little to no apology coming from my heart. Though it is easy to look at that method of discipline as being meaningless, because of my frequent insincerity, I do think something longer-term was accomplished. Even today, when I do something that I know is wrong or hurtful, I hear my mom’s voice telling me that I need to say apologize.
Ever notice how rare it is for nations, for leaders in many fields, to make apologies to individuals, or groups of people, wronged in the past? Part of that not happening is often due to the legal and financial ramifications of saying sorry … for saying we are sorry says that we are responsible, and being responsible for doing someone wrong might mean that we owe compensation.
Imagine the mistakes and hurts in our world that might be moved toward resolution, reconciliation if people, leaders, would say that hardest of words?
“Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word”
Elton John

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As I drove home I heard a person (Charles Swindoll) on the radio say there are six words that will end an argument … guaranteed. So, I turned up the volume, and awaited the valuable information.

Now, this information could be valuable to me, not because I would ever need it, personally, but so that I could share it with those who do. My hubby and I would never argue … my kids and I would never argue … I would never have arguments with people at work or church (I know the Bible (Matthew 7:2-5) speaks of the speck of dust in the eye of another, when we have a log in our own … I wonder if you can have a log in your ears/hearing too?).

So the first three words guaranteed to end and argument are: I am sorry.

The speaker went on to say that those three words would take the (heated) air out of any argument or heated discussion. This makes perfect sense, as it is a sentence that does not allow the discussion or argument to become more heated. It is like cool water on a burn, it stops the heat from increasing.

What I am sorry does not do is say you are right, and I am wrong. But what it does do is it validates the other persons feeling of hurt, injustice, and being wronged. Even if there is reason (misinterpretation, or miscommunication) for the wrong to have been done, that does not validate or give acknowledgment to the ‘hurt’ person’s feelings. To acknowledge their hurt provides opportunity for them to get over IT, and move on. Without such an acknowledgment of responsibility makes moving on almost impossible, because it will be viewed as being repeated again in the future.

I have to say that in arguments past (not that I have been in many 😉 ), when I have heard the words, I am sorry, I melt. Most of the melting is outward, in the form of tears, but it does penetrate into my heart and soul too. There are no words that can change me from pit bull to pussy cat faster!

The next three words guaranteed to end an argument are : I was wrong.

I was wrong is the next step to I am sorry. This one is more weighty though.

To say, I was wrong, is to say that you are ‘manning up’, that you have shoulders that can bare the weight of your wrong, and that you are willing to carry the consequences of your mistake, all on your own.

From my experience, hearing the words I was wrong, are the immediate gateway to my forgetting that there was an argument in the first place. Those words can validate the hurt feelings of the other plus it takes the responsibility of the offense off their shoulders, and that is empowering. Now not everyone, in every circumstance will have the same response. For some that validation might just be reason for a temporary injection of heat to the moment. But, that injection is only a hot spot, because the responsibility has been assumed by the other, and now the source of heat is gone. When the source of heat has been extinguished, there is no possibility of reigniting.

As I look back at times when those six words were said (to or from me) in an argument, I can see how very powerful they are. And as I practice the use of them in the future, I believe their value will only increase.

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