Why it is important to apologize.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.


Yes, there is a level of spiritual maturity that allows us to stand against a lie and announce the truth of who we are in Christ. It is our responsibility to decide whether a word “sticks” to us or not. Consider words as written on post-it notes. As words are said to us, they land like someone just placed a post-it note on us. We can then look at what someone just said to us and decide if the words are true or false. If true, then we can confess them to God and ask forgiveness from the person. If false, that post-it note lifts right off, and we can cast it away.

I learned how to renounce lies and announce truth through Freedom in Christ Ministries (FICM). In a personal crisis, I was led to this ministry and learned this skill. Without the opportunity, I would still be absorbing words that are spoken to me without analyzing them for their credibility. Some people have not yet learned they have the power to decide what sticks and what doesn’t, or do not yet have the ability to discern that some words they have absorbed are lies. We each have the level of relational maturity that we have. No judgment. However, this means you and I are extremely susceptible to hurting people that will struggle to heal the wounds our words cause.

Words are hurting people all over the globe.

I like Proverbs 12:18 because it reminds me that words can do great damage.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18m NIV)

Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. (Proverbs 12:18, NLT)

I don’t want to be reckless with my words, but if I am reckless, I want to apologize! Why? Because my words cut the person. That is what swords and “cutting remarks” do.

My latest wound

It so happens that I broke my arm a few weeks ago and had emergency surgery. There is a lot of metal in my wrist now. I was cut by a surgeon, and there is a scar. Also, a friend of mine cut her hand one evening last week and waited too long to go to the doctor for stitches. Now her cut will heal more slowly and require more daily care to heal.

These two injuries got me thinking.

but the tongue of the wise brings healing. When our words cut someone, we do literal damage, not figurative. Apologizing for our hurtful words lets us address the harm we have done and helps heal the wound we caused. When you get cut, isn’t it nice when someone comes to your aid to clean and dress the injury for you so you aren’t doing all the work?

Heartfelt apologies provide such assistance.

If we don’t address the harm our cutting remarks cause, can the person heal? Yes, but their healing is more difficult without your assistance.

Choice 1: They treat the wound themselves.

Imagine being right-handed and your right hand becomes injured. There is no one to help you, so you retrieve and adhere a band-aid using your awkward non-dominant hand. Can it be done? Yes. Is it harder without help? Yes! This is what we do to others when we don’t apologize.

Also, when we wait too long to apologize, this causes undue effort from the wounded person as well. My friend waited too long to see if a cut needed stitches (12 hour limit) so her wound will take longer to heal and leave a less tidy scar. Maybe we should have a 12 hour limit too. Otherwise, the person needs to care for the wounds of our words alone until we show up with words that heal.

Choice 2: They don’t treat the wound.

They just let it be. The cut remains unprotected, prone to infection, and forms a scar that is not flat and smooth because the cut was not bound, cleaned and massaged as the scar healed. Does any of this sound familiar? Do you watch others just let their wounds be? This is what we do to people when our reckless words are left unaddressed. Real injury occurs.

I want to apologize.

By that, I mean, I want to dress the wound of the person I injured with words of healing. I want to own the damage I have done and address it specifically with words like, “I am sorry I said (specific words). Would you please forgive me?” To offer a heartfelt apology means I get to help close the wound I caused with words that clean and bandage the wound; thus, minimizing the scar and speeding the recovery. (Notice we can’t get rid of the wound.)

Receive forgiveness.

It is common in our society for someone to say, “It’s okay,” when we ask their forgiveness. NO. Gently refuse that response and say to the wounded, “It is not okay that I said those words. Please forgive me.” Wait for it, because we also need their forgiveness to heal our heart from the grief we feel over the damage we have done. Otherwise, we also have to do all the healing work ourselves. We made them bleed. We caused an injury that will leave a scar, so we need forgiveness too.

Pain and hope.

I am pained by all the reckless words I have spoken in my life and will most assuredly speak again. I grieve the scars I have caused and hope I cause fewer scars each year that I live. But I also remain ecstatically grateful that our Savior, Jesus Christ, died for all the cutting words that have recklessly flown out of our mouths either on purpose or by accident. He forgives us even if the other person will not.

This infuses so much hope into our relationships!

Picture Explanation: The people I have to apologize to the most, and the arm after surgery, and a puppy! Happy Mother’s Day! 

Online study starting June 4!

Speaking of living our short life speaking words that heal: If you are interested in participating in an online One Gritty Blink Bible study this summer, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and send me an email so I can place you on a list to be contacted as online and face-to-face studies are planned. Let’s not just focus on things in this short life, but also what counts for eternity.

Note: No part of my posts are derived from A.I. Thoughts and writing stem from my mind and heart as I process life week-by-week and continue to grow in my understanding of God and how to apply His wisdom to the world around me.

© 2024 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.


2 Responses

  1. Dear Friend, you have once again crafted an amazing post from life lessons. I love the creativity that God has given you. It’s Mother’s Day, so some people may not get to this post as early in the week as they normally do. I hope they do because this is a great post. An extremely important part of our spiritual formation as Christ followers is understanding the doctrine of reconciliation and how it is that we’re reconciled to Christ which includes us admitting our sins and seeking and receiving forgiveness from the Lord. That’s the biblical vertical model with the Lord, so that ought to also be our model with our horizontal
    human relationships. For anyone reading this blog, if you find apologizing and asking for forgiveness to be difficult, I urge you to get help from someone who’s walked that road before and could coach you and counsel you. For most of us, it takes learning from and being accountable to a community to grow in this area. Our sanctification and transformation in Christ is a lifelong journey. Taking responsibility for the harm our words and actions cause others is a huge part of that growth. We please the Lord as we grow in this area. Thanks again, Laurie, for your vivid illustrations!

    1. I am so glad you found this well explained, as I type with my broken arm. The injury is real and a constant reminder, as are our words.

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I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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