If you are as old as I am ( a little over five decades) you may well remember the movie “ Love Story”  about a young married couple. The young wife is diagnosed with cancer and the basic plot of the movie is how this young couple navigates through this difficult journey from diagnosis until her death. The young wife was played by Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal played the part of the young husband. It was most certainly a tear jerker for that time and perhaps the signature line of the movie was this statement-" Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

 

Although this line may have had a clever or catchy ring to it, nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, love often has everything to do with saying that we are sorry to another person. This whole concept has caused me to think quite a bit about the power of an apology and conversely, the harm that the lack of one can cause.

 

Living over fifty years on this earth has taught me that the folks who do not seem to have difficulty being apologetic are those that have an accurate understanding of themselves. They are those that realize that they do not do or say everything just right which means that they must make amends when they have missed the mark. I have learned something else about these people which is that folks who readily and easily apologize usually tend to not think too highly of themselves and have great care and concern for the welfare of others.

 

On the flip side of the coin are those individuals who would rather jump in front of an oncoming train than admit that they are wrong, and then to go the step further of expressing their sorrow for their offense. Which category does the lady writing this blog fall into? I am a bit ashamed and embarrassed to admit that it is the latter. I have also noticed that I am not alone. In fact, some of the people that I respect and admire most in this world for many other reasons are also the same folks who have an incredibly difficult time admitting first, that they have been wrong and second, simply saying those two words “I’m sorry” afterwards.

 

As I have pondered this, I have realized that the main obstacle to admission of wrong doing and being apologetic is pride. That is it in a nutshell friends, it really is. You show me a person who has a hard time choking out the words “I’m sorry” and I will show you a person who struggles with self pride and with thinking too highly of themselves. Privately, they acknowledge to God that they are a prideful person, but to humble themselves before men, in front of others is an enormous problem for them. What they have seemingly not grasped yet is the truth that humble people who are quick to apologize are loved by men and honored by God. In due time, God always rewards their humility by exalting them in one way or another.

 

My children are grown now but to this day, the teachers who won their hearts and affection were those who admitted wrong doing when warranted and who offered apologies when needed. Sadly however, while growing up, they also at times resented past figures of authority who rarely if ever issued expressions of being sorry when the situation called for it.

 

All of us who are in positions of authority whether it be pastors, grandparents, parents, teachers, coaches, and others need to put pride aside and make amends with an apology to those young people who are under our charge and care. If we did, we would see resentment melt away and our influence with those young hearts would increase ten fold.

 

All of life’s relationships can be helped immeasurably by remembering this, not just those in authority. Friendships, marriages, work associations, sibling relationships etc can all be strengthened and made so much sweeter if we all would begin saying those two words when it is necessary to do so. If we could take that first step,  how much more enriched would our lives be! 

Just a short phrase- “ I’m sorry” …it just should not be too hard to say. If it is...perhaps our view and image of ourselves is larger than it should be.

 

How about you? Do you apologize easily?…or can you barely choke out those words?

Let’s take an honest look in the mirror and think about it.

 

The truth is…Love most definitely means having to say you’re sorry!