Pastor’s Corner: Real Apologies

A hibiscus with raindrops.

August 11, 2021

Recent events have reminded me once more of the power of an apology. A real apology.

“I’m sorry if someone was offended,” is not an apology. It may be the preferred response of public figures, time-tested in teary-eyed press conferences, but it is not an apology. “I’m sorry if someone was offended,” transfers responsibility from the person who performed the offensive action to the person it offended. “I’m sorry if someone was offended,” disclaims accountability on the part of the very person who should be held accountable.

Further, they presume – they actively coerce – the offended person into offering forgiveness. “I apologized! You’re supposed to forgive.” For some people in some contexts, this is a terrible burden. Having done no wrong, they’re expected to right the wrong, while the person who committed the offense either escapes consequences or proceeds to blame the victim for being unforgiving.

Can you tell I’m really tired of non-apology apologies?

We insist upon real apologies from children. We ask them to apologize, and then we tell them how to do better. We show them how to make up for what they did. We watch them to make sure they don’t do it again.

We don’t let children get away with “I’m sorry if someone was offended.” Why do we tolerate it in adults?

Real apologies can be powerful. They can transform. Apologies are the root of reformed behavior. They lead to the stem of restitution. They can blossom into repaired relationships. They can bear fruit in forgiveness that makes relationships deeper and stronger than before.

Don’t make non-apology apologies, please. You’ll cut yourself off from the deep blessings of repentance and forgiveness.

And don’t accept non-apology apologies, either. It doesn’t do anyone any good.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Once again, apologies for the late post.

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , | Posted on August 18, 2021

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