HIATUS – Apologies that need another apology…

Well, I am still trying to think but nothing happened. I could not help but post this article from my favourite sportswriter (with permission)…

Posted on Sat, Jul. 30, 2005

Apologies that need another apology

How’s this for an apology: “If I did anything to offend you, I’m sorry.”
Just what does that mean?
“It’s not an apology because it takes no responsibility,” said Bishop Joey Johnson of the House of the Lord.
When someone apologizes to you like that — they are blaming you. As the Rev. Joseph Kraker of St. Vincent Church said: “It’s like they’re saying, if I offended you, then it’s your fault.”
Or as the Rev. Arthur Green from St. John’s CME Church said, “They’re really saying, `Something is wrong with you — and you should apologize to me. But I’m being big about it, so I’ll sort of apologize to you.’ ”
Green said he tries to practice Ephesians 4:26: “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
“If I have a problem with someone, I want to go to them right away and it get resolved,” he said. “The longer you ignore it, the worse it gets.”
One of the dumbest movie lines ever was from Love Story, where a character says, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
The person who thinks that won’t stay in love, or any other relationship, for very long.
This is a tough subject for many people.
As a friend told me, “When I have to admit I’m wrong, then I feel stupid. I’m also afraid if I apologize, the other person will yell at me.”
Instead of thinking an apology will make things right, we’re afraid it will make things worse. We believe the person will think even less of us than the person does already.
“It’s a battle with our self-esteem and pride,” Kraker said. “It takes real humility to sincerely apologize.”
Rabbi Stephen Grundfast, from Akron’s Beth El Congregation, said: “I think you need to name the act for which you are asking forgiveness. That is a part of our tradition. Say that you are sorry for cheating the person, gossiping or whatever you did.”
Instead, we often say, “I’m sorry, but you were wrong when you… ” or we say: “`I’m sorry I said that, but I had a real bad headache… ”
A phony apology can be worse than no apology.
Part of the problem is both parties are often hurt. How often, truly, is one person completely at fault in a personality clash?
“So we wait for the other guy to make the first move,” Johnson said. “Some people have been waiting 20 years, the grudges getting worse all the time. Entire churches have split, families have been broken, all because no one will apologize. Instead, people avoid each other. They talk about each other — but not to each other.”
What holds us back?
“If we apologize, it’s like we’re admitting we’re flawed,” Grundfast said. “It’s not just that we did something wrong, we have to admit there was something wrong with us.”
So we ignore it.
Johnson said that’s the worst tactic. He mentioned how the Bible puts the responsibility on us. If we have hurt someone, we must apologize for what we did — even if that person also hurt us.
The result can be amazing — one person apologizes, then the other does, too.
Johnson mentioned Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends upon you, live at peace with everyone.”
Not all of these discussions will end well. Sometimes, we ask forgiveness, but the other person can’t grant it.
“If the apology comes from the heart, then the obligation is on the other person,” Green said. “It’s very hard to forgive and forget. But I can forgive you and not hold it against you for the rest of your life — even if I always remember it.”
I talked to two Protestant pastors, a Catholic priest and a conservative rabbi for this article. All of them described the freedom, healing and cleansing that comes from true apologies.
The bottom line?
A real apology may not make a situation any better, but it can’t make it any worse.
Messages for Terry Pluto can be left at 330-996-3816.

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3 Comments »

  1. gulp, conviction rides in those words.

  2. wowgirl Said:

    guilty as charged…me, I mean…I know know that I have prefaced “apologies” this way. Good post!

  3. Kodiak Said:

    Have we ever expected an apology when none needed to be given?


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