Summary: This is an update of an earlier sermon dealing with not jumping to conclusions concerning the motives of others. We need to be quick to listen and to say I'm sorry.
“I Made A Mistake, I’m Sorry
Is there anyone here today who has had to say these words or something like this words , “I made a mistake, I’m sorry” this past week? Is there anybody here, who should have said these words this week, but never got around to doing it and there still a strain in the relationship. Sometimes just saying these words can take a load of our backs, or turn around a situation altogether to allow us to start over.
For the most part, most of us want to get along with others with whom we live, work or come to be with at church. We want to have a good time. Yet we may discover we spend more time arguing with each other, than enjoying each other. Part of our problem is that many times we want to believe we are psychic. We genuinely believe we can read somebody else’s mind. Have you ever said something like, “I know what you’re thinking.” “I know exactly why you did that.” “I know how your mind works.”
Let me ask you something, If a mother tells her five year old son John, not to eat the cookies on the table and she comes back and the cookies are gone, why did John eat the cookies. 1) John is a bad kid and never listens to anybody. 2) John was hungry, and his mother usually lets him eat when he’s hungry. 3) John knew if he ate the cookies, his mother was going to yell at him, but the cookies were worth the consequences of being yelled at or 4) John did not hear what his mother said because he was watching TV at the time.
Now the only one who really knows why John ate the cookies is John, and John might not even understand it himself. However the relationship between John and his mother is going to have some stress in it. All kinds of things we do, produce stress in others which in turns produces stress in our relationships to them. Which makes us angry with them and they with us. For our youth, stress is that stuff when we feel look grrroooh.
Report card time produces a lot of stress for children and parents. Our children cannot understand why we are so upset over their grades when they intend to make up for it the next quarter. We do not understand how they just don’t care about their future. Doesn’t 3rd grader Cindy know that if she gets a D she will not do well on the SAT’s in 8 years and seriously damage her chance at being a success in life? So we have both children and adults attempting to be psychic about the future.
We forget, the most important thing we have to offer each other is not good grades or good things but rather a good relationship. Jesus said, “this is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.” We are all too eager to throw this simple commandment to the wayside and still choose to try to be psychic in dealing with each other when misunderstandings occur. It’s easier for me to guess your motive for what you did, than to actually listen carefully to what you’re trying to tell me.
The reality is, we are all going to do something that’s going to hurt somebody feelings. That means, somebody is going to do something which is going to hurt our feelings. Where there is hurt, anger comes following close behind as an emotion. We can become hurt in our families when we feel misunderstood, ignored, or unloved. We can become hurt at church when we feel unnoticed, overlooked, or unappreciated. We can become hurt at work when we feel slighted, overworked, or harassed. We can be hurt by our friends when we are left out of their plans.
Now in the book of James in the Bible in verses 1:19-20, we are given a three fold plan to help us get along better with each other. He said, “first of all be quick to listen.” Part of this is the idea of listening for God in each situation. The second thing is to be “slow to speak.” Have you ever had your argument all ready to go, so that you were just waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you could set them straight. Well this is a violation of the first principle which is to be quick to listen.
Slow to speak is a warning for us to think about what we are saying, before we say it. Our words can turn a good situation into a disaster in a moment of seconds. Wisdom is not always having something to say. It means thinking and speaking quietly. Our mouths get us into more sin than probably any other part of the body. It’s possible to say the right thing, but to say it at the wrong time. It’s possible to say the right thing but say it in the wrong tone. Being slow to speak means we take into consideration the other person’s condition or circumstances before we respond. Otherwise we have to get used to saying, “my mistake, I’m sorry.”