Is saying sorry really isn’t enough?
This is a question I have pondered recently when I needed to gently rebuke one person in my inner circle. I have no problem calling the attention of my children or my youngest brother when I see that they are not doing what is expected to do. I also practice this gentle rebuke to the ladies under my discipleship group. Though I haven’t really called their attention about something, I know I have encouraged them to just do what the Bible tells us to do whenever there’s a habit or an attitude that needs to be changed.
Going back to my question, help understand why it seems my apology is not enough. I had to reprimand this person, whom I will Martha. Over the past years, I have been observing the actions of Martha and this other person, whom I will call Luke. Martha is single. I’ve known her for a very long time. She has a great work attitude and is dedicated. Luke on the other hand is separated from his wife and children. He is known in the community as a philanderer and I have seen that first hand. And Martha is aware of this man’s reputation.
I saw these two people engage in flirtatious acts which made me really uncomfortable. I questioned myself, do I have to be part of this? Do I have to be involved? The answer was yes because they are in my sphere of influence. I believed God has allowed me to witness this just for nothing. He put me there for a reason. I don’t know what but I believe it is to talk some sense to these people. I took weeks before I was brave enough to confront Martha about the situation. I prayed for days until finally one evening, I had the courage to speak to her.
The conversation was relaxed. I shared with her my observations and inquired about her relationship with Luke. At first, she laughed and denied the whole thing. She gave me an explanation as to why the closeness and I accepted what she claims to be the truth. We ended okay or so I thought.
After a few days, I saw Martha again. This time she was cold. I tried to start a conversation with her but she avoided me. Days had passed and whenever we had a chance meeting, she would go to another direction just to avoid me. This went on until it finally got in my nerves. I began to doubt if my gentle rebuke was wrong? I couldn’t stand the thought of knowing that something sinful is going on in my face and I won’t do anything about it? Would I just be a spectator? The Bible says in 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.Even the prophet Nathan rebuked King David for the sin he committed against Uriah and the Lord as expounded in 2 Samuel 12.
I know I was doing my job as a Christian but why the response? After doubting what I did, a sudden rush of bad thoughts came to mind. “Maybe they really have a relationship” or “She hates you for confronting her and exposing the sin” I allowed these thoughts to linger until I reacted in an unchristian way. I did as the Bible told me not to do. I fought evil with evil. But after days of feeling miserable and disheartened I came to God one morning asking what to do in this situation. Lord, how can I solve this problem?
A verse came to mind very clearly it was “Live in peace with each other”. I grabbed my Bible and searched for it and I found it in 1 Thessalonians 5:13b. It goes on to verse 15 which says “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”
Armed with the mercy of God that day and that verse stuck in my head, I went to talk to Martha. This time she was civil to me. Neither did she avoid me. I told that I acknowledge her hurt feelings after the talk we had. I assured her that it was not my attention to judge her or hurt her feelings. I just wanted to clarify if my suspicions were correct and to gently remind her that if she pursues that relationship, the Lord will not be pleased. I am speaking like an elder sister because I was concerned about her welfare. I sincerely apologized if I have offended her. I added that we’ve known each other for a very long time and this should not cause our relationship to drift apart.
Tears fell down her cheeks. I assured her that she still has my trust and I will believe whatever she tells me. She told me to let her be for a while. She will be back to her normal self again just give her some time. I believed that too.
A week has passed since that tearful day and there was no change in her attitude towards me. I’m still uncomfortable when I’m around her. I could sense that she still avoids me once in a while. Am I wrong to feel impatient towards her? Is my sorry isn’t enough?