Is it just a matter of saying 'sorry'?
What is the best way to give an apology? Written by Matt Sieff
In recent weeks, there have been a few 'relationship' issues that have come up in my life. Dealing with relationship concerns is never easy and certainly only possible when we have a spirit of humility. Part of sorting out contentions with others can require making apologies when we may have said or done something to offend.
But what is the best way to give an apology? Is it just a matter of saying 'sorry'?
Christ gave us a depth of divine instruction during His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). Much of His teachings centered around getting our relationship right with God, and with others.
In Matthew 5:22-25 Christ said there is a way to make peace with others with whom we have a contention. It begins by being aware of troubling issues between ourselves and others. Then it requires a 'hasty' attitude to address the issues.
Often we're unaware that a problem exists and nothing is said from either person. However,
when we become aware of a problem, we can hold back from giving it the needed attention. We can minimise the issue and think the problem will pass with time. Or we can think the other person should learn to forgive. This can lead to awkwardness and ill feelings that might linger longer than they should. But Christ commands us that God's way is that of reconciliation with both individuals doing their part.
Making apologies for something we have done wrong and making them quickly is reflective of the character of Christ. It restores the confidence others have in us so the relationship can move forward. Think of it in terms of seeking forgiveness from God when we sin.
An apology doesn't need to be drawn out. However, it should be done with all sincerity.
Here's some points to keep in mind when making an apology:
1. Take responsibility to recognise and admit that you were wrong
2. Don't make excuses for the offence
3. Honestly state what you see as the cause of the problem (which is usually yourself)
4. Announce that you will endeavour to never repeat the offence
5. Offer to make amends where possible.
We can ask God for awareness and the willingness to act. And when we resolve our problems with each other, it often yields a much stronger bond. This is the very purpose God has in mind for us, that of living in peace and harmony in His eternal and holy family. That peace is reflected in Christ's instruction when He said: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God".
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