July: Week Four

The power of an apology

“Every discipline has its corresponding freedom. What freedom corresponds to submission? It is the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way. The obsession to demand that things go the way we want them to go is one of the greatest bondages in society today” ~ Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 2008.

Foster’s observation that always getting our own way is a “terrible burden” takes some time to grasp. For most of us, the terrible burden is when we don’t! Yet, as we pause and consider the upside-down nature of the Christian life, we reluctantly realise that he may very well be right. The self-serving life is never satisfied: our own stubbornness and impatience can so quickly enslave us. In seeking to serve ourselves we are never satisfied. Instead, we become a dog chasing its own tail.

Take some time this week to prayerfully reflect on your own responses to those situations when you haven’t got your way, when another person’s will has prevailed over yours. Has your impatience or intolerance introduced strain into that relationship? Might an apology be in order? Do so is an exercise in submitting yourself to the other person, as you rely upon their their gracious response to your request for forgiveness. 

If your impatience or anger tends to manifest in other ways (like, while driving!) you might need to address your apology to God. You might even want to take more time in prayer to ask him to reveal the reasons why you find those situations so frustrating.