They're not "I love you."
Is that what you were thinking?
These three words are harder to say than those.
And it's not "I was wrong."
But it's a close cousin.
I started thinking about these three words when my Pandora station paused because I'd been idle too long. A little notice came up on the screen that said basically "Something went wrong. It's our fault. Please reload."
The thing was, it wasn't their fault. It was mine. I'd been idle too long and I'd lost the feed (or whatever the technical term for the internet connection is) to my station. But they'd gone ahead and graciously taken the blame with their little sign that popped up. They'd assumed responsibility.
It made me like them more.
As I thought about that, it made me think of how I'm seeing that those three words are the fastest way to resolution to people-- the willingness to say "It's my fault." There's something in those three words that breaks down barriers, that are so startling it makes you see something different in the person who uttered them. In a society that is obsessed with love but eager to slough off responsibility, it's common to hear "I love you." But rare to hear "It's my fault." When I hear someone take ownership for a problem, to assume that somehow, somewhere along the way, they had a part in the breakdown, well it just makes me think "This is someone I can trust."
I'm slowly learning to say those three words faster, easier, to not withhold them from those I love. To be quick to own up to my own failings, whatever they may be, however big or little they were in the scenario. To be the person who steps up and starts the dialogue by taking responsibility for the situation. It's not the easiest way, and requires a degree of vulnerability that I don't think any of us are comfortable with. But it does work. And it kinda makes me think about the way Jesus lived His life-- He said "It's my fault" when it wasn't. And I am so glad He did.