Last week I wrote a story about my husband apologizing to our son. Apologies are good and as the story shared, help restore relationships. But I started thinking, that sometimes we apologize for things we shouldn’t.
On Easter weekend, my husband and I rented a cabin in the woods, just the two of us. One morning we walked the trails nearby and passed a family hiking the opposite way. As we got closer we overheard the mom say to her daughter, “Only say you’re sorry when you’ve done something wrong and really need to apologize for it. You don’t have to say I’m sorry to everything.”
Then, seconds later as our paths literally crossed she said to us, “Oh I’m sorry, let us scoot out of your way.” Adam and I chuckled. I wonder where the little girl learned to say I’m sorry so often!
It’s easier to say I’m sorry when you accidentally bump into someone in a crowded store than it is when you’ve done something hurtful and need to apologize to restore the relationship. But at the same time, parenting and relationships are hard, and we often, like the mom said apologize for the wrong things.
So in honor of those who make too many apologies (me included!), here are 2 situations we should never apologize for.
Situation # 1 not to apologize for: Enforcing the “yellow zone.”
Believe it or not we have a “yellow zone” in our house. Being a homeschool family, we are together all the time. And all my children and my children’s stuff can scatter all through-out the house at all hours of the day and night.
And believe it or not, there are times I, the mom, need some quiet time all to myself. There are also times when I, the mom, would like to sit with Adam, the dad, and carry on a conversation with him alone. And I prefer to do both of those without school remnants beside and behind me.
Thus the yellow zone.
Our office and bedroom are right beside each other and separated from the living room by a folding door. We have deemed this sacred space the “yellow zone.” In other words: Enter with caution. All children must knock and have permission to enter this room.
Yesterday one of our children kept forgetting the rule about the yellow zone and walked right in, curious about what Adam was looking at on the computer. I was close by and heard Adam say, “Excuse me, you are in the yellow zone again. OUT!”
The child almost cried but got the point and quickly stepped back over the threshold. Adam looked over at me, his eyes asking if he had been too harsh. I shook my head no. He wasn’t mean. He was firm. The yellow zone was not a newly legalized boundary, it just needed to be enforced – unapologetically.
We don’t ever need to apologize for enforcing the boundaries we set in place. And we also don’t need to feel guilty when we respectfully follow through with those boundaries. Choices have consequences and allowing the child to feel sorry for crossing the yellow zone will help them remember the boundary line next time.
Situation # 2 not to apologize for: Doing what God has asked you to do.
When Amy Carmichael arrived in India in the late 1890s she was dazzled by the jewelry many of the women there wore. She and her group of Christians called the Starry Cluster began to wear sparkling jewels of their own to fit in. But Amy soon discovered wearing jewelry was a source of pride for the Indian woman and held its own caste hierarchy.
This disturbed Amy greatly. She began to feel strongly that she should remove her jewelry altogether to symbolize her devotion to Jesus Christ. One by one the ladies of her group began following her example, each individually convinced of the Lord’s leading. Many people laughed at them as a result for women were supposed to wear such jewels.
While some laughed, others noticed the difference and were drawn to them – and to their God. And as a result many became Believers and joined the Starry Cluster ministry.
In the book Hero Tales*, Dave and Neta Jackson write about how a leader of a band of robbers once told Amy “If those hundreds of girls wore jewels according to Indian custom, not all the money in the world could hire a watchman to guard them.”
Amy and her group of women were so thankful God had kept them safe by something as small as a conviction to wear no jewelry.
In a similar way, God has entrusted our kids to us for a time. They won’t always understand the decisions we make and the convictions we live by. We may stand out as odd to the people around us and they may laugh at the choices we make. But we never need to apologize for following what God asks us to do. Following His way protects us and draws others to Him.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel
because it is the power of God
for the salvation of everyone who believes…”
~ Romans 1:16
So what is your “yellow zone?” And what do you firmly believe God has called you to? I pray you are encouraged to walk in those without feeling the need to apologize!
* The story of Amy Carmichael was retold from a story in Hero Tales