Some of you may recall the television series Happy Days (which aired from 1974-1984 and depicted “a sweet vision of life in the 1950s and early 1960s” mid-America). One of the characters on the show was named Fonzie. He was the “bad guy with a good heart” but he had one problem.
The Fonz could NEVER admit (or say) he was wrong. He’d occasionally try, but he just could not get the word “wrong” out of his mouth (as shown in the short clip above).
When Leland and I first married, I had a similar problem as The Fonz. Because of experiences in my 20’s, I had a LOT of trouble saying, “I’m sorry” when I needed to.
I don’t recall the incident that blew up between Leland and I. I do need to say here that in our entire marriage he NEVER lost his temper or yelled (except one time when he hit his finger with a hammer). So there was no reason to be afraid of saying those words.
It ate at me all day. I KNEW I was in the wrong. I KNEW I owed him an apology. I KNEW I needed to say “I’m sorry”. And if I didn’t know it, God was there poking at me, prompting me, showing me. he deserved an apology.
So late that night in bed, when I knew he was a-l-m-o-s-t asleep, I semi-whispered the words, “I’m sorry” and I meant them. I held my breath, waiting nervously. And do you know what he said – since he wasn’t asleep? “Thank you. It’s okay. I love you.” and he rolled over and tucked me into his arms.
Huh? Wha?? Where was the lecture? Where was, “Well, you should be”. Where was the recrimination? The anger? What was the matter with this guy?
Leland taught me a strong lesson that day. REAL love doesn’t hold grudges or make someone feel even more badly than they already do. REAL love forgives quickly and easily. Leland showed me that REAL love epitomizes his Father – God.
God’s love is like that. His forgiveness is swift and holds no condemnation. He isn’t keeping score. He forgives and literally forgets because Psalm 103:12 says that as far as the east is from the west, that’s how far God removes our guilt from us. He never again remembers it (Hebrews 8:12)
Just like God, Leland never again mentioned whatever it was I needed to say “I’m sorry” for. Just like God, we were immediately restored to the peace between us. Just like God, it was as if I never messed up.
That’s the GOD KIND of love. That is our Father’s love for us. He makes it easy to say “I’m sorry” because forgiveness is instant and complete. And feels so good! He loves us – so much.