Good Morning and Happy Friday!
I really should be busy working right now, but I couldn't get this off my brain. How ironic that today is Dr. Seuss' birthday and also READ ACROSS AMERICA Day. It is a day where you are encouraged to READ, but mainly to instill the joy of reading into your children by reading to them. I am a HUGE advocate of reading to children. I seriously believe it is a major factor in the development of a young mind. I read to Kai from the very beginning and to this day, she enjoys it. READING is FUNdamental!
It is said that some white people believe that "if you want to hide something from black people, put it in a book." It is a (an almost too realistic) stereotype that black people do not read. It is sad, but too true. I am black and I read and I know a whole score of black people that read, but I also know too many that would not touch a book. Not to say there aren't any white people who don't read, but let's not compare ourselves. Truth be told, we are already behind... we should be doing everything in our power to be getting ahead (or at least catching up). Ignorance is bliss though, huh? Everything you could possibly know about anything is written down somewhere. But some of us are all to happy living in our ignorant worlds of dysfunction, dissatisfaction and disorder... knowledge-less. It is a sad state of affairs, smh. I encourage you to, if nothing else, read to your children. Let's break the stereotype. (Then again, what am I doing? Most likely the people who need this are NOT READING my blog... hahaha).
Anywhoozle, I was reading the book club book, The Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman... enjoying it to the fullest when BAM! Right in my face, I began reading to myself something I'd wish I hadn't. I'll explain...
I was on the chapter on forgiving when I stumbled across the section on what to do "When No Apology Is Offered." Let me go back a little bit... even before that section I read that The Bible instructs us to forgive as God forgives us. We are to acknowledge our sin (apologize) and He is faithful to forgive us. In order for our relationship to be restored with God and for Him to forgive us, we must first apologize (confess and repent). The two are not separate with God, so to us (mere humans) an apology is a critical factor in order for forgiveness to be granted and a relationship restored.
For awhile now, I have been wrestling in my own mind how to forgive someone who has hurt me. If you've read my Am I Willing post, you'll see my efforts to forgive someone who's hurt me. It has been nothing less than a struggle. I want to forgive, I would like for the relationship to be restored but I have not been able to fully forgive this person.. (light bulb!) They have never apologized to me, not in my apology language anyway. (No one should have given me this book, forreals!) No wonder it is difficult for me to just rebuild the relationship as if these offenses never happened, the forgiveness and restoration cycle requires confession and repentance (an apology). That brings me to the section in the book... "When No Apology Is Offered". (I so just want to copy and paste the book right here, LOL)
What if the person who offended me does not come back to apologize? Book response: Then I am to lovingly confront the offender. Say what? Hold the phone? So I'm NOT supposed to reject and avoid? Cause that's what I have been doing. My thought process: You hurt me, what you did caused a barrier in the relationship, you have not apologized, what relationship? A relationship is dead. I cannot get past the barrier, so I guess we will just be divided. But no! The book says I am supposed to confront you, lovingly. HA! (now I feel convicted and obligated) I know now, so I would be at fault and responsible for my (now) disobedience. "If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them." (Luke 17:3-4) An offense is committed. The person does not immediately apologize. So you confront the offender, looking for an apology. If the person apologizes, then you forgive. There is to be no limit to our forgiveness so long as the offender returns to apologize.
Question posed? What it the person refuses to apologize---even when confronted with his/her behavior? I am going to hope this isn't the case, but the book says to "approach the person a second time, telling them of the offense and giving them opportunity to apologize. "If your brother or sister sins against you, go and tell him (confront him)—work it out between the two of you. If he listens (apologizes), you've made a friend. If he won't listen (apologize), take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again." (Matthew 18:15-16) This is telling me that I am supposed to continually confront this person, each time ready to forgive them, in hopes that they apologize (in my language). The first time, I should go alone. And if they do not respond, go a 2nd and 3rd time, bringing someone with me so "that every accusation may be verified by two or three witnesses" (God's Word Translation). Really? This had me baffled and stuck, so I stopped reading. I could not get past this point... serious reflection. I looked ahead a little, and I feel like I need to read on to carry out the necessary actions I must take to not feel the conviction I currently feel.
Forgiving When The Apologizer Doesn't Speak Your Language and The Danger Of Forgiving Too Easily are the next couple of subtitles. I definitely want to read those before I face my offender. I don't want to go into the battle unprepared, but at least I have the 1st steps on what needs to be done.
This is going to be a big, bold step for me, one I am not looking forward to. But one that must be done...
They shoulda never let me start reading! I swear... I takes it and I run with it! The book has been quite helpful thus far, it's not only forcing me to face my demons but also reinforcing my relationship with J. I've been passing the info on to him, and he is becoming quite the effective apologizer. This is really gettin good! :) I HIGHLY recommend this book.
I've gone on long enough with my issues and book enjoyment... IT's FRIDAY!!! I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, remember to read to your children (love them and hug them).
That's my peace! Love, Tam