The other day my daughter bit her father. I mean she BIT him. Not just a little nibble; there were teeth marks left behind.
Why she did this, who knows!? Why do 4-year-olds do half the things they do? But I digress.
As part of her discipline, we admonished her to apologize. In our household, we say ‘I’m sorry’ and we say why we’re sorry. Generically vague statements of apology don’t fly with us. True apologies are blanketed with specificity and humility.
Well, it took 10 minutes to get Olivia to apologize to her father. She cried, lay in my arms, and buried her head on my shoulder. Clearly she was aware of what she’d done. And she seemed to understand that at that moment the fellowship with her father was temporarily broken. But she just could not bring herself to say, “I’m sorry, Daddy, for biting your finger.” Her pride would not let her.
I learned two important lessons:
First, I learned our pride stands in the way of true fellowship, not just with loved ones, but with God especially.
To speak the words, “I’m sorry,” truly isn’t a difficult task at all. However, there are times that despite awareness of my own personal sin, and the subsequent broken fellowship with my loved one, I am too proud and puffed up to humbly and promptly ask for forgiveness.
The pain of broken fellowship is sometimes still no contender for my inflated ego and haughtiness.
Proverbs 16:18 is clear, Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pride gets us into trouble, drawing us deeper into a web of isolation and despair.
Second, I was reminded that consequences are essential to breaking our will and allowing Christ’s character to be developed in us.
My daughter, at first, would have rather sat in her room on timeout than apologize to her father. But when the consequences became imminent she began to rethink her position.
She cried and screamed some more. Yet we firmly insisted she must apologize before fellowship could be restored.
When God allows us to feel the consequences of our actions, it is not because He wants to punish us. It’s because without repentance true fellowship cannot be experienced. There remains a rift, though unspoken, in the relationship.
When my husband and I have what I like to call “intense conversations,” the longer either one of us leaves the situation unresolved the more difficult it is for us to experience the intimacy and fellowship we once had.
Taking down and humbling yourself before God and man is the key to peace and joy, and is the true sign of love. Just read 1 Corinthians 13. Love is not puffed up. It remembers no wrongs.
My daughter eventually conceded and apologized. Ten seconds later she was back to laughing and playing as if nothing happened. That is the illustration of how God deals with us.
The extent of our broken fellowship with Him depends solely on us — how long we take to come down from our high horse. No sooner than we repent, our fellowship is restored and it can be business as usual.
So, how long does it typically take you to apologize?
Diera Shaw-Mendez is thrilled to be part of the team Barbara’s Place, and also serves as worship leader and youth leader at New Beginnings Worship Center, Pennsauken, NJ. She is wife to Chaplain Juan Mendez and mama to Olivia Joy. She enjoys graphic design, event planning, and cooking. Diera is a God-fearing, Starbucks loving, tech junkie (…in that order!) who simply wants to remind women of God’s unchanging, healing love.