LET'S MAKE UP

By Céleste Perrino-Walker

We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s your BFF or your boyfriend or even someone you just really thought understood you—until bam! They do the stupidest, worst, most horrendously awful thing any human being has ever done in all of human history. And that’s when you know: It’s over. How can you be friends with someone like that? How can you possibly make up after that?

 

Let’s face it: Misunderstandings and betrayals hurt. There’s just no way around that. If the situation is bad enough and the wounds are deep enough, you may even feel as though life will never be the same again. And it might not. If you can’t find a way around your broken relationship, the world as you have known it will change because someone you valued and trusted will no longer be in it.

It’s bad enough when something like that happens and the other person is sorry, but what if, instead, it’s not one awful thing someone else does but a mutual misunderstanding that destroys your friendship? Maybe you both said or did things that you each regret. Maybe you’re both a little to blame—only they’re a little more to blame than you are, naturally. Are you expected to swallow your pride and apologize?

Not in a million years, right? Not in a million, trillion stinking years.

And so that little blowup causes the Grand Canyon of divides. They are on one side and you are on the other, and no amount of bridges will ever span that gap. It’s the complete and utter devastation of your relationship—gone, just like that.

Unless . . .

 

Across the Great Divide

Did you know there are three little words in the English language that can change the course of human history? They are so powerful that they have the ability to erase the past and unlock the future. Those three little words are: “I am sorry.” They are related to three other words: “Please forgive me.”

E. H. Chapin said: “Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury.” * You may have every right to turn your back on the person who hurt you, but that’s the easy way out, isn’t it? Quitting a relationship because someone made a mistake or deliberately did something wrong is easy. It’s digging in and doing the work to make it right again that takes courage and strength and determination. It’s always harder to save something than it is to throw it away. But which is more satisfying?

How would you want someone else to treat you if you were the one who was at fault?

 

You First

When it comes right down to it, none of us are perfect. We’ve all messed up, said things we shouldn’t have, and done things while thinking only about ourselves and what we had to gain. There’s a story in the Bible about a woman who had broken the law and a group of people were about to stone her to death (John 8:1-11). They were all standing around warming up their pitching arms, comparing the size of their rocks, and taking aim, when Jesus said one simple thing: “If you haven’t ever done anything wrong, by all means, throw the first stone” (see verse 7).

Now, these people were just like anyone else. They weren’t perfect, and they knew it. One by one, they all scuttled away.

Forgiving someone isn’t totally about letting them off the hook. Forgiveness also benefits the person who gives it. Holding a grudge against someone, feeling bitter and vengeful—these things all hurt; they can even make you physically sick. There’s a saying that goes something like this: “Holding onto your anger is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Anger and bitterness are like poison. If you hold onto them, you are the one who will suffer.

 

Get Out of Jail

When you forgive someone, you not only release them from the prison of your disappointment and anger, you walk out of the prison yourself. This is not an easy thing to do, especially if you feel that you have a legitimate reason to be upset. But in the end, which is more important: your right to be upset or your ultimate happiness? If you really love someone, you won’t keep them as a prisoner. You’ll offer them a way out of darkness and despair, and together you’ll walk into the light.

And it all starts with three little words: “I am sorry.”

 

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