He was only supposed to be a minor character in what was then a new television series. It’s called “Happy Days.” It was a hit series about 1950s teenagers. And as it grew in popularity, so did the popularity of a character known as Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a., Fonzie or “The Fonz.” With his motorcycle and his greased-back hair and his ability to have a girlfriend literally with the snap of his fingers, Fonzie became one of the best known sitcom characters ever. Fonzie was like the epitome of “cool,” well, most of the time. He wasn’t cool when he tried to say three little words. No, not “I love you.” A strange paralysis seemed to take over his tongue whenever he tried to say, “I was wrong.” Maybe you remember. It always came out something like, “I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wro-wro…” He never seemed to be able to get those words out.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Three Healing Words.”
Fonzie’s not the only one who has a hard time getting those words out. Most of us have a very hard time saying, “I was wrong.” Hey, I did it! I said it! It’s sad that we struggle so much to admit we’ve been wrong, isn’t it? I mean, so many marriages could have been saved if someone could have said those words, “I was wrong” So many children could have been saved, so many churches, so many friendships, so many relationships – all the victims of our unwillingness to be wrong.
In James 5:16, our word for today from the Word of God, He shows us why saying “I was wrong” is so important. He says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Admitting you were wrong, opening yourself up to apologizing – to saying you made a mistake, that’s got the power to heal hurting and broken relationships.
Maybe you’re in a situation right now where you’ve been just too proud or too hurt to make your part of it right. Even if the other person is 80% – 90% wrong and you’re 10 or 20% wrong, can’t you at least deal with your 10 or 20%? Some of us grew up around a parent who could never be wrong – I know – even when they were wrong. Did you respect them more for that? No, we respected them less.
A healthy human being doesn’t care who is right, they care about what is right. And no one’s right all the time. Over the years, I’ve had to go to the bed of my five-year old son, and say, “I’m sorry, son. I was wrong for what I said to you and what I said to your Mother.” But I’ll tell you, there is healing power in those words, “I was wrong.”
I stood by my friend Barry’s side the night that they were fighting for his daughter Cindy’s life in the emergency room. She had tried to kill herself with an overdose of sleeping pills. Thank God, He answered our prayers for her life. And that night Barry went to her and he said, “Honey, I’ve been so wrong for some of the ways I’ve treated you. I’ve been treating you in ways that my father treated me and I hated it. Please forgive me and give me a chance to change.” Well, all I can tell you is that night a beautiful father-daughter relationship was born. It had never been there before, and it’s continued over these many years.
Maybe you need to be having a conversation like that. Just don’t wait for the emergency room; don’t wait for the divorce court. If you can’t say it, write it. But when you’ve done things you know you shouldn’t have done or when you’ve failed to do things you know you should have done, be man or woman enough to say the words, “I was wrong.” Those little words have the power to heal so much that’s broken.