1 Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
How many times a day are the words, “I’m sorry” tossed around our homes? How many times are those ”sorry-s” actually felt and meant? If it is anything like my house, I’m sure it is slim to none. “I’m sorry“ is usually followed by a death stare (how dare you get me in trouble) or a stomping off to sulk in the room until the offense is forgotten for the moment, only to be remembered the next time one is offended to bring up past sins and betrayals? Since the sorry is not always felt, I’d be willing to bet money that true forgiveness isn’t happening either.
A lot of time, we have an incorrect view of the “I’m sorry” moment. We feel as if the words themselves magically fix everything. But truly, while those words may bring peace for a moment, all they do is just that- they bring peace for a fleeting moment.
I get it. I do this too. I misuse the “I’m sorry” moment as well. I make simply having a moment of PEACE the goal. I want the screaming to stop. I want the unkind words to not be spoken. I want to have a minute to collect my thoughts. Sometimes glossing over another squabble just to attain a few minutes of peace is all I’m trying to achieve.
But going back to the wise words in 1 Peter 3:8- simply making peace is not the goal. The goal is UNITY. A unified home- all for one and one for all. The I’m sorry moment is meant to restore the unity, not restore the peace. We are working towards unity of mind- meaning that we logically do what it takes to bring forward unity in our homes, even though sometimes our heart needs to play catch-up. When we have in our homes a spirit of unity, we view our sorry moment differently. When we recognize that we are together to love and empower each other to be all that God has designed us to be, we value each other differently. When we make the goal to know God, live out faith together, and shine for Jesus, our families are transformed to be different- a good different. Unity is sweet, attractive, and refreshing- peace is just a taste of that. Making our unity our goal instead of just peace is a subtle shift, but it opens up a flood of sweetness in our homes that revives us. It’s the difference between sprinkling and pouring on the top of a salt shaker...truly a small difference that makes all the difference.
How do we treat our “sorry” moments differently?
We learn to have sympathy for the one that we have hurt (even if we feel they deserved all they had coming to them). We imagine what it is like to be on the receiving end of biting words or full out slaps. We have to feel bad for the person that we have hurt. We can’t be truly sorry without recognizing the fact that we have hurt, it hurts, and we are the one who created the hurt.
We have brotherly/sisterly love, remembering we are part of the same family. That God has placed us together to grow together, value each other, empower each other, and give the beautiful security that family love brings. We love when it is undeserved. We love because we are family. That’s what families are supposed to do.
We have a tender heart towards one another. We genuinely want the best for the other person. We feel for them. We love them despite their shortcomings. We are moved with God’s genuine loving kindness towards them, looking to how we can give them life and revive their spirit with tenderness. We don’t let our hearts be hardened with slights, offenses, and bitterness, but keep our hearts open to love and continually lavish love on others, like our Heavenly Father does for us.
We have a humble mind. We are not always right. We are prone to get it wrong. We see beyond the incident to the bigger picture of our lives individually and intertwined. We are wiling to admit where we have erred- and this starts with a humble mind.
For your next sorry moment that will inevitably come sooner than you think...reflect upon these words. Will the sorry move you closer to keeping the peace or achieving unity?