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apology

March 7, 2019 Leave a comment

Forgiveness is a very popular subject, and with reason. Arguments usually drag out simply because one person is too stubborn to forgive and the other person is too proud to apologize. It is important to forgive in order to have peace and live in peace. The apology, which is the order side of the coin, is sparsely emphasized, in my opinion. I did a teaching on it during bible study at my church yesterday, and I thought to share.

An apology is a regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure.
This acknowledgement is usually communicated via “I’m sorry”, “I apologize” or some other plea for forgiveness. A sincere apology is remorseful; it is not an opportunity to continue bad behavior. Sorry loses its value when it becomes an excuse to repeatedly offend.

An apology doesn’t automatically result in forgiveness. The onus is on the offended to accept the apology or not. Forgiveness cannot be demanded; demanding forgiveness after offering an apology does not convey regret for one’s actions.

An accepted apology isn’t a sign of weakness on the part of the offended, but a sign of strength; some offences hurt very deeply and can be very painful. An unaccepted apology isn’t a sign of weakness on the part of the offended, some wounds take [loads of] time to heal. I think the right approach in a situation where forgiveness is desired, is to communicate remorse in other ways asides from a verbal apology and/or gifts; I suggest a change of attitude and/or behavior.

I found this during my research and it resonated with me: An apology is remorse followed by silence, space and changed behavior. A real apology is less speaking and more personal work on yourself. A real apology is looking within and addressing what caused you to hurt someone you love.

As the offender, when you apologize, mean it; if you’re not sorry, save it.
As the offended, don’t get hung up over an apology. Don’t wait for an apology before you forgive because it may never come. There will come a point in your life when to have peace, you will have to forgive someone that will never apologize.

You never know how strong you are until you have to forgive someone who isn’t sorry and accept an apology you’ll never receive – Unknown.

Granted, some people won’t apologize because they don’t know they did something wrong, some people won’t apologize because they don’t agree/believe they did something wrong, and some people won’t apologize because they really don’t care how you feel.

It might be a cliché, but forgiveness is actually for your benefit.
If you’re a Christian, part of the Lord’s Prayer says, “Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us” – Matthew 6:12 (GNT). In essence, “Please forgive me God as I forgive others”, or “Please don’t forgive me if I don’t forgive others”. God said, without mincing words, in Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV): “Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift”. God is all about forgiveness and reconciliation; it’s what the Good News is all about!

Another aspect of forgiveness is the forgetting.
Some people say “I will forgive, but I can’t/won’t forget”.
Wisdom demands that you should learn from the experiences of others, but if you have to learn from yours, then please do. Hence, if someone offends you and you have chosen to forgive, learn from the experience [and adjust the status of your relationship with the person, if necessary], but don’t bring up the person’s offence at a later time. If the offender has to deal with the repercussions of their actions, then, so be it. However, that repercussion should be consequential, not retaliatory; meaning whatever you do should be corrective, as a consequence of their actions, not in revenge. For example, if your significant other abuses you ]for the first time], you forgive. If it happens again, you forgive him/her, but break up or move out or get a restraining order. The break up or separation shouldn’t be your way of getting back at him/her (meaning you haven’t forgiven), but simply the consequence of his/her actions – because you have to keep yourself safe. However, if at any point, he or she needs your help later on and you’re in a position to offer assistance, please do. Do not hold the abuse against them; if you do, then you haven’t forgiven or forgotten.

I’ll use our relationship with God to tie it all together.

Repentance is sincere regret (or remorse) for sin and wrongdoing. Therefore, being a [born-again] Christian is about being genuinely remorseful for hurting God and offending Him.

At repentance, God forgives all wrongdoings and wipes your slate clean (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now, once in a while (hopefully), you may slip up and err, it’s called being human. God is merciful and understanding, always ready and willing to forgive. However, you cannot repent of sin and continue to consciously sin, simply because you know He will forgive you. That is taking God for granted; you are not sorry. Don’t take Him for granted. As forgiving as He is, He might punish you, and you won’t like it at all; but here’s the important part – the punishment is almost always correctional.

We are not God, but He expects us to be like Him. Anyway, what I’m trying to point out is God forgives countless times as long as you’re sorry; and you show your genuine repentance by turning a new leaf.

Personally, I honestly also believe that the most sincere apology is changed behavior.