Follow by Email

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Word or Two About Apologies

A four point household policy on apologies:

1. On the heels of an apology one may not make an excuse.

2. On the heels of an apology one may not seek an apology. It may be sought later, but not immediately after acknowledging one's own guilt for if one is truly sorry, he will be focused on the hurt he or she has caused. Delay also allows time for the first person's humbled state to lead the other person to the same state of contrition. Also, requesting the apology on the heels of asking forgiveness can be occasion for hardening the other person who has not yet owned his or her need to apologize and has not yet internalized the apology that was just given only moments ago.

3. Household members should strive to appreciate that to reject an apology is serious business, for all our apologies to the Lord are meager given who He is, and we are to be mindful that in the Lord's Prayer we are asking to be forgiven in the manner in which we forgive. Accordingly, it should be with fear and trembling that one rejects an apology.

4. There may be no if-then apologies: "If I sinned, then I'm sorry." Such an apology actually implies that one doesn't believe he sinned, and that he or she is not sorry. For had the person thought he sinned, then the apology wouldn't be conditional. And given that the "if-then" in this case really means "if and only if I sinned, then I'm sorry,” then it stands to reason that the person is not sorry at all.

Free Website Counter

6 comments:

obgyn gilbert said...

It was educative in a way. A good thought in dealing with different kinds of people.

WellthMaker said...

People often say you can't give an excuse with an apology but I think this is wrong.
If there are circumstances that really caused your mistake or oversight then I see no reason not to give full information which may make it easier for the person to forgive you. Why tempt them by not giving all the facts.
Sorry honey I did not show up for our date but I had a patient come in bleeding from a gunshot wound and had to save his life.
This is not making an excuse for sin or bad behavior but simply stating the facts to give better understanding. It does not detract from the fact I am truly sorry for breaking the commitment and the lost expectations they felt.
To make a false excuse to lessen your true imperfection is wrong.
We are not to lie that good may come
But to help the person understand that it is not that you do not really care about them, but that there are sometimes factors in life that disrupt the best laid plans.
Why let them be tempted to come up with reasons and impute motives to you as to why you did or didn't do a thing? Withholding truth when it will do good and prevent error is as much a lie as telling falsehood.
Sometimes one has to make a choice, and someone will lose.
So please consider qualifying broad generalizations when making them.

Reformed Apologist said...

"Sorry honey I did not show up for our date but I had a patient come in bleeding from a gunshot wound and had to save his life."

If a patient that came in bleeding is a legitimate excuse before God to miss a date (which I think it is) then there is no sin in breaking the appointment under such circumstances. Now then, without there being sin, there may be no apology for sinning against the other person. What the doctor would be sorry for would not be due to something he did wrong (i.e. sin). Rather, he'd be sorry for the disappointment that his awaiting party had to undergo, which was no fault of the doctor's. He'd be "sorry" for a providence that he did not cause, yet he was required before God to handle in such a way as to require him to break a date, yet without sin. Accordingly, the example does not undermine the premise that one may not offer an excuse when apologizing. In other words, the supposed apology in your example is not an apology at all but rather a reason for why the breaking of the date was not something that was morally wrong and, therefore, worthy of an apology. So, the "excuse" is not an excuse for doing anything wrong.

Anonymous said...

1. "People often say you can't give an excuse with an apology but I think this is wrong."

2. "This is not making an excuse for sin or bad behavior but simply stating the facts to give better understanding."

WellthMaker,

You imply in 1 that one may give an excuse. In 2 you note that such an excuse would not be an excuse per se but instead an explanation. Therefore, you defeated your own position by taking away with your left hand what you gave with your right hand.

"So please consider qualifying broad generalizations when making them."

Your objection would appear due to your misunderstanding and your misunderstanding was demonstrated by your equivocation over what constituted an excuse.

Anonymous said...

I recently witnessed someone apologize to someone else in the manner in which Reformed Apologist describes and my respect for that person went up even higher than it had been previously, which is saying quite a bit. It has always struck me, that we can only help each other to deal with sin if we recognize our own sin aright and deal with it honestly. But a person who knows there sin will also be more gracious to someone else in their sin. None of us escape the need to apologize, but the question is whether we will do it, and how, to the glory of God. Thanks for this post! Psalm 25 - the humble will be friends of God.

adrienne said...

that's great! and very true. it something i teach and do in my own life, but have never seen it in writing before.

adrienne