Six of the hardest words to speak are: “I was wrong,” and “I am sorry.” Ironically while they may be some of the hardest words to speak, they are also the very words that have the power to heal relationships like little else. In fact the harder we find it to verbalize these words the more power those words have to heal.
Why so hard to say? Our pride and the pull of our lower nature conspire against us to cling to our own righteousness even when that righteousness is really nothing less than sinfulness and even thought the cost of our “righteous” silence is relational disconnection against those we caused offence. The more we have personally vested in being right, the harder it is to admit wrong which is why those of us in leadership are often the last to admit wrong and apologize.
There is a reason that Scriptures talk so often of humility. At our core, our lower nature craves autonomy and pride. Proverbs says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Why we ask? Because pride is the primary characteristic of Satan who elevated himself above God, while humility is the defining characteristic of Jesus in the incarnation (Philippians 2). God cannot honor pride which elevates our interests above His. He will always honor humility because it mirrors His heart and a willing submission to His will.
Thus each time we resist making things right when we have been wrong we reflect our lower nature and the master of pride. Each time we humble ourselves to make things right we reflect the transformed life and the Lord Jesus Christ. That puts a whole different perspective on the struggle to say these words.
Keeping short accounts reflects the heart of Jesus. The humility of admitting wrong and asking forgiveness reflects the character of Jesus. Wanting whole relationships when they have been broken by our sin or error reflects the reconciliation of Jesus.