“I’m sorry” is a phrase that I have hungered for on more than one occasion. I want to know that the person who wronged me recognizes the damage done to my person (or to my heart) and repented for it. I want to see the person’s regret. I want their shame exposed and set in my hands so I can decide if they are worthy of my forgiveness. I want to be the judge. Is that too honest?
I find that, when I have that mindset, the apology and any potential restoration are often delayed. I’ll find myself waiting on an apology and I have come to discover that God is propitiating my wait.
The truth is, I’m not ready yet. I think I’m patiently waiting on that person to confess their wrong and beg forgiveness, but it’s God showing all the patience. He’s being patient with me.
John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
There is only one scripture in the Bible that encourages us to confess our wrongs to a person. That scripture is James 5:16. In context, that scripture is urging believers to confess their sins to one another and pray for each other. This is a tool for accountability. This scripture doesn’t imply that you are confessing the sin to the one you wronged. Nowhere in scripture is that said. We are to confess our sin to God because, it is Him we have wronged through our mistreatment of His creation.
Did you catch that? If you are waiting for an apology, you are holding out for something God has never entitled you to. You are only entitled to restitution.
Numbers 5:6-7 says: "Say to the Israelites: 'When a man or woman wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the LORD, that person is guilty and must confess the sin he has committed. He must make full restitution for his wrong, add one fifth to it and give it all to the person he has wronged.”
The sinner must confess to God and then make restitution to the person wronged.
If you are waiting on an apology, it might not come. Perhaps your heart attitude is the delay or perhaps it’s simply that you are not entitled to that apology.
The person may be unaware of their sin which makes it difficult for him/her to realize that he/she needs to repent to God. If forgiveness is a two-step process of repentance and restitution, then awareness of the need for repentance is a major key. Without it God will never hear their confession and you will never receive restitution. This is what you are waiting on, their awareness and your compassion. Use your wait wisely. Pray for the person who wronged you to confess to God. Mirror the words of Jesus on the cross "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
When God reveals their sin they will have two choices, to seek His forgiveness or to run. Pray they confess. Pray that confession leads to your restitution. Pray that restitution leads to restoration (whenever possible and wise). In praying for them, you will ready yourself for any possible apology that may come. You prepare yourself for healing.
Prayer: Abba Father, Help me to lay down my gavel of judgement that I’ve held against those who have wronged me. Destroy any pride in me that would cause me to feel entitled. Humble me so that I do not feel superior to that person. Give me compassion where there is anger. Give me kindness even while my heart is sore. Prepare me for the restitution you will bring. Ready me for the opportunity to restore. Give me wisdom on how to handle that relationship in the future, if it is one to continue or one to avoid. Make me better through this trial. Strengthen me in the wait. Amen.
Truth: I am not entitled to an apology, but I am entitled to restitution. God will restore what I have lost. Love covers a multitude of sins and I will choose to love.
*This devotional originally appeared in My Journey of Faith's Day by Day Devotions.