Let’s face it, we have hurt others and others have hurt us. Is just saying I’m sorry really enough for restoration in a relationship to take place?

Think about it for a moment. You have that one person that repeatedly does you wrong and is quick to say “I am sorry”. How does that make you feel? I know that we are not to live on feelings alone so what or how does that help rebuild the relationship? Is it enough when you know it’s actually a pattern and the other party has no intent to make the necessary changes for restoration?

Let’s take a look at Mack (Fictional character)–

Mack is my brother. Mack has for years misused and abused and taken advantage of my kindness. Mack borrows and never pays back. He borrows money, my car, my other possessions but they never come back. He treats my house as if it’s his, bringing his friends over when I’ve clearly stated that it is unacceptable; eating my food, and just having the run of things.

 Mack repeatedly, year after year, tells me he’s sorry but he never takes any steps to right the wrongs or to stop the wrong behavior. So what’s happening here?

Mack knows I am a woman that loves God and family. Mack knows that normally I would give a person the shirt off of my back. He knows that I’ve allowed it year after year but what Mack fails to realize is that his antics have gotten old and no longer work.

What Mack doesn’t know is, as the song says, “Heard it all before but those lies ain’t working now. Look who’s hurting now. I had to shut him down.” That’s what he fails to realize.

So, Mack says he’s sorry. Big deal! Reality check: change or restoration takes place when people actually change. Otherwise it will never happen.

In order for restoration and trust to be regained in a relationship it has to move beyond mere words to actions. In order for total restoration to take place, as in the case of Mack and my relationship, Mack must be willing to right wrongs and make amends, not just in word but in deed as well. And I must be willing to let go of any expectations of his doing this. In essence, I set he and myself free in doing so.

Let’s be real honest people, if you are in a relationship that has and continues to be one-sided, the phone doesn’t ring unless the person on the other end wants something from you; the calls, emails, and texts you send to them repeatedly go unanswered and unreturned, then maybe, just maybe it’s time for you to reevaluate the relationship.

This applies to personal as well as some business relationships.

You send out invites to various things and those who say they love you never show up. They say they back and support you in your endeavors but their actions proves otherwise. Yet they say they love you. Love SHOWS up!

In my book: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?, I mention the fact that love is ACTION! Love says “I Act On” so if someone is not ACTING on what they are saying, they are talking loud and saying nothing.

There comes a time when we must sever the umbilical cord and move on. Yes, even with those you love dearly. Rest assured, if they are not willing to make the necessary changes for restoration to take place, you are doing yourself and them a huge favor.

Don’t wallow in what was. Recognize that you can only do your part. Appreciate the lessons learned and move on. Sometimes we hold onto what was possibly a good relationship at one time, recognizing that the dynamics have changed and it no longer is what it was and possibly may never be, and in doing so hinder the possibility of meeting and embracing the new–new season, new people, newness of life.

Now, if you’re Mack and you know that you have not honored your part in restoration, get it right! Quit telling a person that you are sorry and work on doing whatever you can to right wrongs. SAYING you’re sorry means absolutely nothing unless there are corresponding actions that follow this that SHOWS you are genuinely sorry and value the relationship.

A moment of total transparency: I have been Mack and I have been on the other end. Translation–I have said to some repeatedly that I am sorry for this or that but there has not been any changes take place for restoration on my part. So as I write to you, I write to myself.

There are some that I’ve SHOWN up for and others I have SHIED away from. So as I encourage you to get it right, I encourage myself to do the same. Believe this, there are SOME relationships worth fighting for and then there are others that one just has to let go of. Pray for Godly wisdom. Ask God to guide you as to which is which and then obediently obey His leadings.

Remember forgiveness is never optional. God commands us in His word to forgive. He does not state anywhere that I’ve read that forgiveness means going back to the way it was. Oh yeah, it says if your brother offends you to go to him and him alone…It also states that if we have any anger or aught against another, before we make our offerings we should go and attempt a reconciliation before presenting our offerings. That, according to my understanding, does not mean everyone is going to welcome and embrace you back or even want restoration.

At various stages throughout the years, I have mentioned to people my intent to move back to my hometown upon retirement. A few people said to me that one can never go back. It saddened me each time I heard it as I have always been told one can always return home.I understand what they’re saying as I believe one can never go back with the expectations that things remain the same after being away for years. People have built new relationships, acquired new jobs, aged, etc.

I still honestly believe that one can always go back home just with different expectations and recognizing that things are not and will not ever be as they were before. And so it is with restoring relationships. Don’t just say you’re sorry. It actually often offends the wounded party. SHOW UP!