Saturday, April 5, 2014

You blew it.  You said something that was really out of line.  You deeply offended a friend or a family member.  Perhaps you falsely accused someone of something they never did.  You assigned motives to their actions that you created in your own vivid imagination.  It happens to the best of us.

Apologies are a good thing.  It is good for us to simply say that we are sorry.  Confession of wrongdoing is even better than just a mere apology.  If we spell out what we did wrong to the person we offended, it can’t help but foster healing and goodwill. Statements like:  I misread your motives and I am really sorry.  I failed to call you back when I said I would.  Please forgive my tardy response.  I failed to express my gratitude for what you did for me.  I do appreciate you.  Such confessions of wrongdoing should be expressed from the heart in a spirit of sincerity.

Apologies with added information are not a good thing.  If I issue an apology and proceed to justify my actions I have nullified the gesture.  If I confess an infraction, and proceed to give a dissertation on why it occurred, I have done more damage than good. Statements like: I misread your motives.  It seemed like you conveyed a real dislike for me by what you said, but I realize now I was wrong.  I failed to call you back.  I have been so busy with so many important things.  I failed to express my gratitude for what you did for me.  I really did not  see your actions as a really big deal, but I recognize that I should have had said thank you.

Relationships are so fragile.  Deep friendship is rare and profoundly needed. Families are far too fragmented.  Heartfelt apologies and genuine confessions are foster reconciliation.  Reconciliation is deeply needed in a world broken by careless words and thoughtless actions.
I am grateful for my family.  But I find the need to confess wrongdoing even to my children on a fairly regular basis.  I have the most amazing friends you can imagine.  But I find that I can be really offensive at times. And I don’t tell them “sorry” nearly enough. Apologies are a good thing.  I don’t anticipate ever finding a time when I won’t be offering them on a very regular basis! 

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