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I Was Wr-Wr-Wrong!

Updated: Dec 22, 2023


The Alpena News

SEP 9, 2023


Everyday Faith

When I was a kid growing up, one of my absolute favorite TV shows to watch was “Happy Days.”

I loved the cast of characters on the show, each having their own funny niche that they contributed to the classic Americana sentiment.

You had the goofy Potsie Weber and Ralph Malf, the sincerely nice guy, Richie Cunningham, the always stable father, Howard, and the restaurant owner, Arnold, among many others.

But my absolute favorite character was Arthur Fonzarelli, otherwise known as the Fonz or Fonzie.

Fonzie was the cool character on the show. He blew in and out of scenes, always doing things his way on his own time. He was charming, witty, and his hair was never ever out of place.

As a kid growing up during that sitcom’s 10-year run, Fonzie was the epitome of cool. So much so that I remember classmates having metal lunch boxes with a “Happy Days” theme on it — often with the Fonz displaying his classic smile, with his thumbs-up symbol he gave whenever he liked something. His wording, of course, going along with the thumbs-up was his iconic, “Hey…”

But, in the middle of all his coolness, there was one thing that Fonzie struggled with.

If you watched the show at all, you’ll remember him stammering over words like “wrong” or “sorry” or “fault.” He would get as far into the word as “wrrrrrr …,” or, “s-s-s-s …” or, “f-f-f-f …”

That was it. That was all he could muster.

Even when he knew he was wrong or had messed up, he just couldn’t say it.

The problem there, though, is I don’t really think the Fonz is alone in that.

Let’s state the obvious: No one likes to admit when they’re wrong …

But to not admit our wrongdoings is the very way we build walls and separation in our relationships. From the very beginning of time, people have made mistakes, but too often have chosen to live with the fallout over and over again, rather than acknowledge what they did.

To change the wording of the conversation, one of the Bible’s core themes is that of forgiveness.

You see, “forgiveness” is a much deeper concept than just saying you’re sorry. “Sorry” is an acknowledgement from your perspective, admitting something wasn’t right, but it’s one-sided. “Sorry” by itself doesn’t fix brokenness.

To ask someone for “forgiveness” is an admission of wrongdoing, but it also seeks communication from the other person and puts it in their lap as to what they want to do with it.

Most often, the person wronged knows they were wronged, and they have also carried the weight of the situation with them. And, depending on the severity of the wrongdoing, that can be quite a burden — bringing with it stress, anger, frustration, gossip …

None of that shows a healthy relationship.

Well, we know that is true in our human relationships, but what about our relationship with God?

Those wrongdoings have an even more grave term in the Bible, and that is “sin.”

To simply let sin fester in our lives also creates separation, but, in that case, from God.

We are encouraged in the Bible to let forgiveness be a normal part of our lives and conversations.

So why is it such a prominent theme?

Because we need it so often.

What absolutely astounds me about forgiveness is the revolutionary power that it holds. True forgiveness provides more than just an acknowledgement of a need to move forward. It provides a clean slate. The memory of the wrongdoing may linger, but the negative power that was once held with it is gone. Both sides walk away refreshed.

I would simply suggest that each of us needs to embrace “forgiveness” as a normal part of our days. Keep the slate clean with your human relationships and with God.

If God can forgive each of us for our many sins — and he can — then why would we want to

withhold the same blessing with others in our lives?

As much as I loved the Fonz, we need to rise above that stronghold and operate our days with the ability to ask for forgiveness, as well as be willing to grant it to others.

“Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” — Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)

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