Who do you need an apology from? Who has wounded you? Our deepest hurts often come from those we “should” have been able to trust or from those in some position of authority. The wounds inflicted on a woman by a man, or on a man by a woman, can touch on especially vulnerable places.
Evil always uses what God intended to be good and twists it to steal, kill, and destroy. You are made in the image of God as male or female (see Genesis 1:27), with the need to be seen and known, for love and care, for intimacy. Those are the parts of your soul the enemy attacks with most vicious hatred.
And those are the parts of you that Jesus wants to heal and redeem.
Right now, consider how you’ve been hurt as a woman or as a man. Notice the wounds or scars in your masculine or feminine soul. I pause to sigh with you in that place. And then I invite you to receive an apology.
From a Man, to a Woman
Evil has demonstrated a special hatred toward Eve and her daughters. And this has often been carried out through men, frequently in relationships that should have been the most nurturing, supportive, and loving.
Christopher West in Our Bodies Tell God’s Story (p. 105-106) takes a moment to ask women to allow him, “as a representative of the male side of the human race, to apologize humbly for the way male lust and domination have wounded you.” In seeking to foster healing, he asks forgiveness for some very specific things.
If you are a woman, take a few deep breaths right now. Think of the man or men in your life who have caused you the most pain. Let Christopher West’s words speak to where you have been wounded:
- “For the ways we have treated you as objects for our own pleasure and enjoyment, please forgive us.
- For the ways we have ignored you or rejected you because you haven’t met our impossible standards of “beauty,” please forgive us.
- For the ways we have seen your differences as a threat to our own fragile sense of security rather than as a complement and a gift, please forgive us.
- For the ways we have used our strength to manipulate and control you rather than honor and serve you, please forgive us.
- For the pride and sense of superiority that have led us to ignore your counsel and belittle your point of view, please forgive us.
- In all the ways we have failed to love you as Christ loves the church, please forgive us. We know not what we do.”
Choose to embrace that apology – not to discount your pain, but as a balm for the wounds you’ve experienced. Choose to believe there are men who can see you and understand.
From a Woman, to a Man
Men have no monopoly on causing harm. Women can display just as much evil. And that often comes out in ways that deeply hurt the men closest to them.
I’m only one woman. But if you are a man, please allow me to stand for a moment as a representative of the woman (women) who wounded you. Allow me to speak in their behalf.
Take a few deep breaths, let your heart be still, and hear these words as if spoken by the woman (women) who most deeply hurt you.
- For the ways we have tried to make you into our image instead of valuing you for who you are, please forgive us.
- For the ways we have made it impossible for you to win through our impossible demands, instead of receiving the gifts you were trying to give, please forgive us.
- For the ways we have ignored or wounded your sensitive and vulnerable heart, assuming our needs were always more important than yours, please forgive us.
- For the ways we have criticized or demeaned you when you haven’t read our minds or communicated in ways we wanted, please forgive us.
- For the ways we have expressed contempt for you out of our own past hurts instead of seeing you as an individual, please forgive us.
- For the ways we have sought to punish or control you by withholding our respect or our very selves, or tried to manipulate you by using our bodies or our words, please forgive us.
- For all the ways we have failed to be the companion and helper God called us to be to you, please forgive us. We know not what we do.
Embrace a moment of healing for your broken heart. There are women who can see you and understand.
An apology can sooth and calm your soul and begin the healing process. But it’s just that; a beginning. And that process may or may not mean reconciling with the person(s) who brought you pain. What’s next?
More than anything else, you need Jesus to enter your story. Invite Him right into the middle of the hurt and trauma, whether large or small. See Him seeing you. His presence brings healing.
And then do some intentional work to address the walls in your own heart that you erected in response to the hurt. Doing so will give you the wherewithal to choose how, where, and with whom you let your inner walls down again. You can become capable of intimacy.
Your Turn: Can you imagine the person(s) who hurt you the worst offering an apology? Whether that person(s) has or hasn’t in real life, can you let these words help your heart? I’d love to hear from you; leave a comment below.
Want more? In this week’s podcast episode I speak with Dr. Eddie Capparucci about some of the real reasons many men struggle to love. Check it out here.
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- Men have hurt women. And women have hurt men. Here are some specific words of an apology for your masculine or feminine soul. Tweet that.
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