The Promise is to You

Humility That Brings Healing

Last fall I took a grad class at Sacred Heart Major Seminary that required writing a research paper on an ecumenical topic. The professor emphasized that the purpose was to teach us to listen closely to what others are saying, and not to respond with pre-packaged apologetic answers that we assume will apply, but may not.

I duly spent time reading various authors and trying to understand their views. I included many of their quotes to make sure I was appropriately representing their beliefs. But when I got my paper back, my professor’s first comment was that my paper “assumes from the outset an antithetical and apologetic stance, and hence you are not first listening.”

It made me wonder how often I think I’m listening to someone, but am not really doing so. Perhaps I think I already know the answer, or how to solve someone’s problem. If I’ve known someone for years, I may assume I know what she is about to say. Sometimes I’m right…and sometimes I’m not.

It’s hard to admit when we’re wrong. Our pride flares up and we may point to our good intentions. The last thing we want is to feel that we’re doing something wrong.

Yet we’ve all been on the other side of this, too. We’ve been hurt by others who make false assumptions and are unwilling to consider that they may be wrong. We want them to apologize and to reconsider what we’ve said.

Apologies bring healing. They offer a path to rebuilding the part of the relationship that was hurt. They recognize the dignity of the one who was wounded, and give the gift of humility to the one who apologizes willingly.

Jesus never expects us to get everything right. To the contrary, He knows what we will do wrong before we even do it. He doesn’t condemn us or withdraw His love from us. To the contrary: “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)

Jesus sacrificed His life in order to bring reconciliation and healing.

He invites us to merely sacrifice our pride to do the same.

As Lent continues, let’s ask God to give us the gift of listening with humility, the grace to apologize when we’re wrong, and the joy of receiving forgiveness – both from others and from Him.

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By Christy Whiting, Upper Room Director. She’s pursuing a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. This article first appeared in CTK’s newsletter, The Open Door, in March 2018.

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