What are eight simple words that can save a relationship? They might surprise you.
Here are two little words that can make a world of change. These words can deflate an argument, can calm the storm of personal conflict, and can defuse a time bomb that’s about to explode into a confrontation. Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t hurt. It’s so easy. It does take humility; but remember, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Peter said essentially the same thing:“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). Saying “I’m sorry” can sometimes humble the other person too when there’s a disagreement.
Please Forgive Me
One man told me that he held a grudge for years before finally letting go of it. In this remarkable account, he told me he went to a friend who had offended him years ago, talked to him about a years’ old offense, told him that he was sorry for holding a grudge all these years, and asked the man to forgive him. Believe it or not, the other man began to weep and said that he had kept all kinds of grudges; but the only thing he discovered was that unforgiveness was like an acid that eats its own container. They both renewed their friendship and are now close friends, all because one man who really wasn’t even the cause of the rift went to his old friend and said, “Please forgive me.”
I Love You
I never used to say this to my brothers. To my wife, yes; but to my brothers in Christ, never! Today I am not ashamed to tell my friends or fellow church members that I love them, and I believe that is one of the most important things that one human being can say to another. I even say it in emails to my friends. My wife and I leave love notes for each other if we aren’t able to see one another before one of us leaves for the day. We always close each note with “I love you.” We also make those our last words if we are leaving because those may be the last words we’ll ever hear each other say if something tragic happens.
I truly believe the greatest eight words you can say that can save a relationship are “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” and “I love you.” These are the kind of words that not only save relationships but friendships as well. Don’t let these words come out of your mouth begrudgingly but easily, naturally, and with feeling. They change people and relationships, and even the person who speaks them may never the same again.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
image source: CC BY Leo Hidalgo
modifications: cropped, text added
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