Friday, February 4, 2011

What's in an apology?

There's an art to apologizing, and it seems like very few people have it down.

"I don't know why you're so mad!"
"Can't you just get over it?"
"Are you going to be mad at me all day?"
"I didn't know it would turn out that way!"
"I guess you'll just never be happy no matter what I do."

Come on, we all say those things.  I know I do.  Why do we feel like we need to add a defense to our apologies?  (Yes, I know 'apology' means 'defense' or something like that, but we all use 'apology' to mean 'I'm sorry', so just go with me here, ok? :) )

Apology is about making the other person feel better, not about soothing your own hurt feelings, or giving a reason why you did it, or making up excuses, even if they are valid.

We have a structure for prayer, but why don't we have one for apology?

I was watching a show one time, and I was struck by how the main character apologized.  She simply said, "I'm sorry!  I was wrong."

Wow.  That's what I need to learn, too.

Here's a structure for apology:

I was wrong.
I didn't think, but I should have.
I'm sorry I did it.
I know I hurt you.
Will you please forgive me?

It seems like an apology given in this manner definitely fulfills the "A soft answer turneth away wrath" verse from Proverbs 15:1.  An 'apology' given in the first way (the way we all like to do it) fulfills the second half of the verse that no one ever quotes:  "but grievous words stir up anger."  Proverbs 15:1

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