“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.”

// Matthew 5:23-24

I've been blessed with great parents. They raised me well and taught me what's right – like one time they withheld my privileges until I apologized to the boy who lived down the street from us for punching him in the guts, for example. I learned from a young age the weight and the importance of an apology.

In the above verse, extracted from one of Jesus’ most famous messages, He tells us how much urgency and weight we should place upon an apology. He says it’s more important than worshiping and bringing an offering. He says only after we have apologized should we consider approaching God. Ouch!

Our Heavenly Father is such a good Dad and He loves us too much to leave us the same. He is always calling us to come up higher, shaping our characters into the people we were created to be.

Wise woman of God Joyce Meyer says, “unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping that the other person dies”. I can’t help but think that maybe an undelivered apology functions in the same way – like a poison of stubborn pride that refuses to self-assess or humble oneself, and blocks us from receiving the fullness of God’s favor [1 Peter 5:5].

Like we see some many times in our walk with Christ, apologizing is a powerful exchange of beauty for ashes – we hand Him our grudge, our stubbornness, our pride, our bitterness, and in exchange He forms stronger friendships, builds respect, generates understanding and forms maturity, shaping us for healthier relationships ahead.

An apology is an opportunity to build and exemplify virtues like strength of character, maturity, integrity, fortitude and honor. Furthermore, it’s an ultimate opportunity to display unconditional, agápe love – the type of love that will show people what our faith walk is truly about [John 13:35].

If this post has caused a little heart pang or brought to mind a specific individual or a situation, why not take this opportunity, the Temple Prøject Relationships Week, to prayerfully apologize. Go immediately, like Jesus says in Matthew 5. Don’t waste another day carrying an unnecessary burden.

Your Father will be proud.

// Alicia Hosking