This post is a follow up on yesterday’s post Apologies.
Chad makes a good point in the comments:
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this post.
I’ve been in relationships where the advice you give led me to crash and burn into arid land of the chump. However, I was a chump when I said it so I’m unsure if its because of who I was framing those words/actions in chump-land or if the words are inherently a poor choice.
To answer this question, I think it is better to state the facets surrounding an apology rather than what we perceive it to be.
If you recognize this list, it is because it’s a list of other facets of what Love is.
Simply put, it is an act of the giver that signifies that you may have hurt someone and you want to let them know that you understand this and want tell them that you don’t want it to get in the way of your relationship.
It is not an act of supplication where you are attempting to please others. If you are trying to please others with an apology then you have the wrong frame of reference.
Let me explain this further in the next section.
The two facets
Now, there are two sides of an apology.
The first is one that is given freely:
- You should not expect anything back from the giver, including forgiveness.
- You should not attempt to do anything in order to make up for it — unless this was a business proposal in which you made an error that you need to make up for. However, this is not the case for most relationships.
- It is not meant to please others but to make things right.
The second that I only glossed over in the last post is that apologies are for YOU, the apologizer:
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Matthew 5:23 Therefore if you are presenting your [s]offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your [t]offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your [u]offering.
This second point of apology is important because — not only is it Scriptural — but it is an act that benefits you and your conscience.
It is essentially a confession. Not just between you and the other person but also between you and God. Indeed, this can be considered a gathering of beleivers if both of you are Christians — where two are more are gathered in my name there I am with them. It allows you to become right before God and other men.
This is the true nature of dissension and strife. It divides the body and may indeed prohibit the Jesus from being there, and the Spirit to work in the hearts of men.
There are multiple elements that stem from confession which lead us to a place where God calls us.
The first is the confession of sin to God.
One of the ways this is done is performed in an apology to others that you have wronged as described above. It is only after we admit that we make mistakes and are sinners that we can receive the full measure of forgiveness and grace and that we can walk into repentence.
There is no forgiveness of sins without confession because without confession we do not admit that we are guilty and need a savior. This is where pride gets in the way of confessions and apologies to others:
- we may believe that we are right and do not need correction
- we may believe that apologies show weakness and make us unattractive
- we may believe that confessions expose certain parts of us that are unappealing and people won’t like us anymore
All of these are pride getting in the way of apologies/confessions.
Second, once we are able to confess and apologize for our sins, then we will be able to receive grace and forgiveness.
The key here is that we will definitely receive grace and forgiveness from God. We may not necessarily receive it from the other person. However, we must recognize that it is the choice of the other person whether to forgive or not. We should not be angry if they do not forgive because that is between them and God.
As I stated earlier, a confession or apology is as much for yourself as for the other person. It allows you to expose the parts of you which are sinful, and to allow the hurt, anger, and the bitterness to wash away.
This is why I always tie the fact that Christian nice guys are in sin. We must first admit the sin in order to allow God to work His grace and forgiveness in our lives. If we fail to confess this sin we wallow in our own hurt, anger, and bitterness as you see many Christians in the manosphere are prone to fall into when they realize they have been fed a lie and are walking in it. The anger is justified, but it should never be allowed to fester. And you must repent because you also followed the blind guide into a pit.
It is important to remember that it is not others we are seeking to change through our actions, but it is God working His mighty power through us that allows us to change. God can then use this as a witness to win others to Him.
Remember that the Christian manner seeks to address men to be accountable for what they can be accountable — themselves.
Apologies should not seek selfish gain. Nor should they seek to manipulate others into forgiveness. Apologies, instead, address you and your faults, and seeking to understand those faults and become a better person.
This leads into the final point…
Fourth and finally, is the act of repentence.
Apologives and confession start this process by which brings us to repentence. And repentence is recognizing that we need to change because we may have done wrong or hurt others. It recognizes that we are imperfect and we make mistakes.
As you can see, the lens of weakness and unattractiveness is short sighted because we fail to see what God can do through our actions. Indeed, we think about what it may do to us — to focus on earth things instead of spiritual things — rather than what God can do through us.
Apologies are in essence a confession before God and men that we have done wrong or may have hurt others. They are indeed handed over freely to the other person, and we should not seek gain from them.
Rather, a confession or apology should start the process that leads to repentance:
- Confession/apologies for wronging or hurting others.
- Receive grace and forgivness from God. We may not receive it from others.
- Walk into the joy, peace, and charisma we receive from God because of grace and forgiveness.
- Then walk into the repetence in order to not repeat the same mistakes again.
This is the true nature behind what an apology does for YOU, the apologizer. It allows you to shed the anger, hurt, and bitterness and to walk into what God has called you to do which is bring unity to relationships.
Note: Continue reading for when to and when not to apologize in Apologies Part 3.