The Bible helps us understand how to be people who apologize well. The world around us tells us through music and action that there is a time where it is “too late to apologize.” I believe wholeheartedly that there is never a time where we shouldn’t move to apologize, even if its not received well. Craig Groeschel helped me understand this better in a message he gave on restoring relationships. So many times i have failed at apologizing the right way and feel like understanding the practical wisdom that God gives us can change everything when it comes to apologizing and making peace with each other. Here are a few things that have helped me:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9
- THE GREATEST ENEMY TO PEACEMAKING IS PRIDE.- Ever feel that weird feeling in your gut when you know that there is a problem with someone but everything inside you just wants to avoid it. To not have to confront it? It’s called pride. It’s the feeling that we don’t want to go through any pain or conflict in order to find peace. We would rather just avoid it in general. Another aspect of pride shows itself when we know we aren’t wrong, but we still need to make peace with someone. Can we be the first one to make a move even when it’s not our fault?
- THE GREATEST FRIEND TO PEACEMAKING IS HUMILTY.- Humility is always the first step towards peace. Are you humble? If so people will receive your attempts at peacemaking much more quickly and easily because they know you are willing to admit when you are wrong and that you don’t always have it together.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2
HOW TO APOLOGIZE WITH INTEGRITY (this could save our relationships)
1) ADMIT TO SPECIFIC ACTIONS AND ATTITUDES. We all know that apologies that aren’t specific feel extremely hollow because it causes us to wonder if the other person even understands what they are apologizing for. It starts with I am sorry for……and be as specific as possible.
2) DON’T MAKE EXCUSES. We are always wanting to make ourselves look better. The first way to devalue an apology is to give excuses for our actions whether they are legitimate or not. Why can’t we just apologize and acknowledge what we did without trying to convince people that we aren’t actually that bad. Making excuses make us feel better about the thing we did wrong and better about possibly doing it again.
3) ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES. Not making excuses and feeling more remorse about what we did to offend someone else really helps us to feel the consequences for what we did. Whether that is a loss of trust, a broken relationship, or just making an innocent mistake. The better we get at accepting consequences, the better the chances that we will learn to never do the same thing again.
4) CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR. Every other step doesn’t matter much unless we actually change our behavior. Apologizing for not calling someone back on time won’t matter to much if we don’t call them back on time the next time. We must change our behavior
5) ASK FOR FORGIVENESS. This is the step that is frequently left out. Many times we apologize but fail to ask the other person to forgive us. It forces the other party to have to choose to let go and verbalize it to us. I heard a good definition of forgiveness is giving up the right to hurt you for hurting me.