As much as I love to hear those three words, I can’t say that I feel the same way about saying them— or better yet, admitting that a great failure or disappointment occurred as a result of my actions. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us, “God has given us everything we need for a Godly life,” and in Romans 3:23 it says, “We all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” At first, these scriptures seem contradictory, but if you’ve been a Christian longer than a week, you know how beautifully true both of these are.
As a Christ-follower, your sin nature is not a good enough excuse for poor behavior. In fact, you have been washed clean and “given everything you need for a Godly life.” So, if you’re resting on “we all fall short” to be your one-sided resolution when you do someone wrong, I submit that maybe you’re neglecting to embrace the fullness of the Gospel.
The fullness of the Gospel is about reconciliation. Making things right in every situation possible is Biblical. And in order to own up to the mess Romans 3:23 says you will (inevitably) make, you need what God has given you for a Godly life, the Holy Spirit, to help you. You see, “we all fall short” was never meant to be a cop-out to avoid owning up to your mistakes. On the contrary, it’s the fact that Christ showed us grace by giving His life for us (even while we were still dead in our trespasses)- that launches Spirit-led believers into the freedom and empowerment to admit when we are wrong.
Apologizing is hard. Depending on the situation, sometimes you just don’t know what’s waiting on the other side of it. However, if you are apologizing and owning up to make peace and work toward reconciliation, it’s always worth the risk. Aren’t you glad Jesus thought reconciliation was worth the risk? I will also submit to you that you are not responsible for the reactions of others and anything else that may be waiting on the other side of your obedience - you are only accountable for being obedient.
Looking back, I cannot say there was a single time I have regretted owning up to a mistake. Moving slightly into a new territory of leading teams at work, I’ve now had to learn to make a practice of owning up to the mistakes of my team. I’m grateful for the practice I’ve had of owning up to my own messes because it taught me to show a “love that covers” and apologize for mistakes that aren’t necessarily my fault. The desire I have for trust within my team needs to be greater than my pride every time.