Monday, May 15, 2017

“My Bad”

By Susanne Scheppmann

 Key Verse:

"This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.”  
Matthew 5:23-24 (MSG.)
Why is saying, “I am sorry, please forgive me” so difficult? Recently, I picked up the trendy phrase, “My bad” to apologize. It seemed like a convenient way to state, “Oops! I made a mistake—so sorry.” One day I wondered where “my bad” originated. Curious I searched the Internet and found the history. It began with a basketball player who spoke English as a second language. He missed a free throw shot and said, “My bad.” Radio announcers and sports fans picked it up and a new slang phrase was birthed, “My bad.”

Interestingly, the urban dictionary defines it as a flippant apology. It means something like this, “I did something wrong. No reason to apologize, just get over.” Hmmm…as a Christ follower I need to rethink my apologizing behavior. “My bad” might work for a silly mistake, but not when I hurt someone’s feelings with my poor behavior. In any situation that requires a real apology, I need to display humility and seek forgiveness.

In addition, to asking for a sincere apology, I need to change my behavior that caused the problem. If I continue with the same problematic actions, it indicates that I do not find my behaviors offensive enough to stop. Now this is so much easier to say than to actually do. For example, when my children were in their teen years they knew how to push every “make Mom yell” button I owned. I hollered at them a lot. But slowly with prayer and Scripture memorization, my screaming lessoned. Now I am not saying that I don’t ever yell, but the habit of screaming at people is gone. I like what the last part of our Key Verse states, “come back and work things out with God.” Sometimes our sinful behavior takes awhile to dissipate, but we cooperate with God and He will help us alleviate them from our lives. So don’t be discouraged if you need to apologize a few times.

However, when we ask forgiveness, both God and others expect a behavioral change. Stay diligent and aware of what triggers the negative actions in yourself. Here’s a trick that helps me to redirect my potential negative response to an irritating situation. I now say to myself, “My bad” to alert myself when something triggers an action that I might need to apologize for to someone. Perhaps “My bad” can be your personal code phrase too. It can be a challenge for us to stop and reflect on our next response. Hopefully, it will allow God the opportunity to work in our lives, before we need to say, “I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me?”
Dear Lord, teach me to ask forgiveness when necessary. Help me to keep my apologies sincere. In addition, give me the strength to change behaviors, so that my apologies carry the truth of my actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Application steps: 
Today make the decision to apologize sincerely to someone whom you’ve wronged. Consider when and where would be the most conducive time to ask the person’s forgiveness. In addition, consider how to word the apology so that it comes across as sincere and not flippant. Next, if your poor behavior is habitually, ask God to help you begin to change your actions. 

Why is asking for forgiveness so difficult?

Is there someone you need to ask to forgive you?

What behaviors do I find myself apologizing for repeatedly?

Power verses:
Proverbs 6:2-3, “If you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!” (NIV)

Proverbs 29:23, “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.” (NLT)
Proverbs 18:12, “Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.” (NLT)

© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

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