As we raised our children, it soon became apparent there was a vast difference between having them say “I am sorry” to one another versus saying “I was wrong.” More often than not, “I am sorry” meant “I’m sorry I got caught…”, “I’m sorry you’re making me do this…” or “Okay, I’ll tell them I’m sorry so you will leave me alone!” You get the picture. “I’m sorry” rarely conveyed repentance or remorse.
On the other hand though, saying “I was wrong” has a completely different connation. Saying “I was wrong” has a certain level of humility to it. If we’re honest, it is rather humiliating at times to admit, “I was wrong.” It requires us to humble ourselves and admit our mistakes. And quite frankly, most of us don’t like to do that.
A key in any relational conflict is a person’s ability to admit what they did to contribute to the problem. Inability to admit fault is an indication of relational and spiritual immaturity. A true sign of a person’s growth relationally and spiritually is their ability to accept personal responsibility when they are at fault.
Take a moment to reflect on these questions:
- Are you able and willing to admit when you are wrong?
- If not, what does that say about your relational and spiritual maturity?
- In conflict, are you able to say “I was wrong” as well as “I am sorry” when you are at fault? If not, why not?
- When is it hardest for you to accept responsibility for wrong in a conflict?
- When someone has wronged you, are you willing to say, “I love you and I forgive you?”