Hurt & Angry: Apology Wanted

It’s a given that people hurt each other.  We all live in this dark, fallen world, surrounded by God’s beauty in nature and sometimes, in each other; however, the fact still remains that much in this world is not good.  Even the family structure, which should be the safest, most beautiful place, is threatened with anger, harsh words, cold hearts, and dysfunction.

It’s not hard to imagine that everyone you meet is somehow fighting or overcoming past hurts that they’ve incurred, possibly even from their own family or friends.  Many times these hurts have been expressed in hopes that relationships could be repaired, much to the dashed hope of the person seeking to deal with their pain in a healthy way.

Even stranger to many people, myself included, is the phenomenon of the human race to hold onto their pride, and even when knowing another party is truly hurt and broken over things they did or allowed, will not apologize for years, sometimes waiting until their death-bed (I’ve seen this with my own Grandma), or not at all.

What is someone to do with the fact that they are left hurt, angry, and broken, and know that their hope for an apology might never happen?

I think I’ve found the answer.  Ponder if you will, on some of these quotes:

“There are unrepentant people in the world, maybe even in your family tree.  Some people do not apologize because they don’t know how.  Others do not believe they owe an apology for their behavior.  Still others are hardened or enabled by their own destructive or numbing choices.  others offer only what they filter through their own life experiences.”

(from The Mom I Want to Be by T. Suzanne Eller)

 

“As hard as it might be to understand, there are people in the world who will forever and always be permanently remorseless.  And if God will not compel them to feel contrition, certainly we will never be able to do so.  While we are commanded to offer them the opportunity to repent, the decision to acknowledge what they have done must come from within.

Consequently, we must never allow our emotional health, which depends on our ability to forgive someone, to remain wholly dependent on that person’s willingness to bear the burden of what he or she has done – because it very well may never happen.”

(from The Prayer of Revenge by Doug Schmidt)

You just can’t allow your own well-being to suffer because someone denies you an apology – it’s not that I’m saying an apology isn’t right or needed, I think if more people in this world had enough courage to apologize when they’ve hurt someone, we would live in a much better place.

It’s even biblical that even before you dare to pray, if you know someone has something against you, you are supposed to stop praying and go directly to that person to make amends right then and there – not to even put it off for another moment!  That’s how much people truly need acknowledgment of their hurts and pain, God knows, but He wants healing for you even if the other party will not acknowledge what happened.  He wants you to be whole and well without an apology.

God loves you, and I do too, don’t let another person control your thoughts and emotions by withholding a much-needed apology.

Let go, and live.

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6 thoughts on “Hurt & Angry: Apology Wanted

  1. Great post! One of the best books I’ve ever read was on forgiveness. It was written by Nancy Leigh Demoss. It is one of my “keeper” books — as in, I will always keep it on my shelf for times when I need a refresher course in forgiveness.

  2. I was walking my fully grown bull terrier (English) once when the lead went tight. I looked around and he was just standing there, looking me right in the eye.
    Hanging from his face was a Staffordshire bull terrier pup. The look in my dog’s eyes was ‘Hey Dad … please will you do something about this?’

    I did. And I learned a very valuable lesson that day about brainless overconfidence and true strength.

  3. The need for an apology is such a big thing, but it is often twisted because of the desire to place blame, or put the offender in their place. A proper, sincere apology shows that the person who was hurt is valuable to the offender. It is validating to the offended.

    If the offense was made by a contemptuous person who does not value the hurt person, any apology they offer won’t likely be sincere or healing. Some circumstances don’t even offer an opportunity for apology. It may be that the original hurt, as well as the added insult of contempt if an apology is refused must be handled by seeking comfort and dignity elsewhere.

    Repentance is often conflated with apology. For my part, this is something I want much more than apology. All I mean by that is, I want to know that the person isn’t going to treat me that way again. Of course, that isn’t proof that they won’t repeat it, but it seems to me to be less emotionally charged, practical, and allows defining that action as being offensive to _me_ at least.

    (Sort of thinking things though as I write…) I’ve been working through some issues and am trying to figure out how to address the person without demands for apology (should be offered freely to bring healing, anyway). Maybe I’d just declare that I thouht it was wrong, and ask if they’d commit to not doing it again.

    The hard part for me is really the emotionally abusive person. You don’t usually know up front what is going on. And when you do, you can’t always extract yourself completely from them. So… you know that you’ll never get apology or repentance. You know you’re not valuable to them, and that you are going to be hurt again. The long-standing contempt is generally hurt enough, as it is.

    Then there are issues of forgiveness… I’ve heard and read all kinds of christian ideas about forgiveness, but I’m not convinced that they really match God’s take on it.

  4. Your comment is truly insightful… I still have to work on this in my own life when someone attacks me visciously – I’ve done it to others so I’ve been the guilty one also. The best thing is to forgive them (or if someone attacked someone, to ask for their forgiveness).

    An apology is ideal, but the reality is that repentance or an apology usually just doesn’t happen in real life (I sound depressed about it, sorry). The pain is intense and can leave you crying even when a total stranger hurts you… sorry you’ve been hurt, at least, maybe you can find comfort in knowing that we have to some degree. I hope you find peace and joy and wellbeing in your life, … and please do choose to forgive, it really helps (it doesn’t always take the pain away though).

  5. And sorry to bring up total strangers – I’m sure you’re not talking about that kind of hurt. I’m crazy… my husband thinks I’m waayyyy too sensitive in order to be crushed by what a stranger says to me, but its ironic its also an aspect of my character that he loves the most: that I’m kind and vulnerable to the point of caring too much about someone who only likes to hurt and insult. Its hard for me to not care about people, I think that’s why being hurt is so “hurtful” – if you care about strangers (I can’t help it, I truly do) then you’re bound to be hurt. CS Lewis said that if you love anything, you will be hurt. Loving strangers with a caring kind-hearted love like my husband says I do, has gotten me into hurtful situations at times, but its also allowed me to offer love and care to people who most need it (and accept it). So again, the best thing is to choose to forgive those who hurt you, they don’t see you crushed or see you cry… love them like Christ would still love them.

  6. Dragonfly – i love this. letting go is hard to do. we worked on this a lot years ago in my sexual abuse recovery group. rarely will one apologize. letting go w/out the apology. i’ve been able to do that a lot … for some reason, idk, i just had always hoped we’d have this one last time together, to both be able to say i’m sorry, to forgive … a type of closure. i don’t ever expect it from my parents or others who have hurt me. but i’d longed for it from him … perhaps b/c we were married, and we knew each other so well. the intimacy of it all. thanks for sharing this link with me.

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