“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” (Luke 17:3b-4)
When I was in college, I had a clinical supervisor who rebuked everything I did. I think she considered my coming into her presence a sin. Since she disliked the sinner and not the sin. I didn’t apologize every time she thought I did something wrong. The experience moved me to be humble when it was my turn to teach. I put the pressure on myself by telling my students it was my job to make sure they learned and received a A in their clinical. They felt comfortable telling me when they didn’t understand, and I often had to change my teaching methods. But every student earned an A.
Rebuking should always be an act of love and a teaching moment. 2 Timothy 2:25 says, “Be humble when you correct people who oppose you. Maybe God will lead them to turn to Him and learn the truth. When someone offends you, don’t fight back. Tell them you value their friendship, but their remark stabbed your heart. Be prepared for their response. Most brothers and sisters in Christ will apologize, but many will tell you you’re too sensitive. We learn in school that when someone laughs at us, we should laugh with them. But that doesn’t teach to respect another’s heart.
When someone has the courage to admit they’re wrong, rewarding them with an apology lets them know you care about their heart. God wants us to be merciful.
Dearest Heavenly Father, when someone hurts me, let me resolve my wound by communicating with love. When someone has the courage to apologize, let me be merciful, remembering the many times You’ve shown me mercy. Assist me to learn from my mistakes and accept rebuke with wisdom. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.