The Trouble With Being Right

So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Luke 17:3

Believe it or not, it is often harder to gracefully receive and apology than it is to issue one. As Christians, we know we are to forgive “seventy time seven” times (Matt 18:22), but some of us can sincerely forgive and still project an air of superiority unbecoming to a child of the King. 

If you’re waiting for someone to realize they owe you an apology, use this time to think of a response that reflects genuine forgiveness and allows the transgressor to feel he has retained your respect. Consider this humorous little story:

A passenger on a dining car looked over the luncheon menu. The list included both a chicken salad sandwich and a chicken sandwich. He decided on the chicken salad, but absentmindedly wrote chicken sandwich on the order slip. When the waiter brought the chicken sandwich the customer angrily protested. Most waiters would have immediately picked up the order slip and shown the customer the mistake was his. This waiter didn’t. Instead, expressing regret at the error, he picked up the chicken sandwich, returned to the kitchen, and a moment later placed a chicken salad sandwich in front of the customer.

While eating his sandwich, the customer picked up the order slip and saw that the mistake was his. When it came time to pay the check, the man apologized to the waiter and offered to pay for both sandwiches. The waiter’s response was, “No sir, that’s perfectly all right. I’m just happy you’ve forgiven me for being right.”

By taking the blame initially and allowing the passenger to discover his own mistake, the waiter accomplished several things; he allowed the passenger to retain his dignity, reminded him to be more cautious before blaming others, and created a better atmosphere for everyone in the dining car. The next time someone blames you for their mistake, don’t get defensive, but find a creative way to make things right.  

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