“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
One of the things I have noticed through the years is that offering an apology seems to be very hard for some people. I understand the sentiment that some may have relative to the words “I’m sorry”. Though I don’t share the aversion to using those words, I will give a break to some who think that saying “I’m sorry” is self deprecating. But that’s not really what I am talking about here. I am talking about the segment of culture that seems to think that there is something wrong with offering an apology. “I apologize” aren’t words that some people are willing to utter.
“I didn’t mean to……..” Yea but you did
“I hate that you feel that way……..” Give me a break
“That wasn’t my intention……..” So what!?!?!
Sometimes these things boil down to the context. Parents who won’t apologize to their children. Bosses who won’t apologize to their employees. Pastors who won’t apologize to congregants or staff. You get the picture. Sometimes I think some people think saying “I apologize” from a position of leadership somehow damages said leadership. What I have found is that the opposite is true.
I have been in ministry for a long time and can think of times in my past where I didn’t apologize for reasons of pride. Lately however, I’d say for the past several years I have gotten to a place where that is no longer the case. One case in particular within the past few years someone betrayed the trust of a conversation I had with him. I will admit that this was a person who had “pulled the wool over my eyes”. In a confidential conversation I told him concerns that some people had where he was concerned. Well……. you guessed it, within an hour it was all over the place. He went to the people after I specifically told him not to. So, I had a choice to make. As a person in authority I could point my finger at this dude and blame him or I could apologize to the people I had offended. I didn’t intend for him to say anything. I didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt. However, he did say something (and created a few things on top of that), and people did get hurt. So, I apologized. I completely owned it and I meant it. And do you know what happened? The relationships with those to whom I apologized were strengthened. My leadership wasn’t damaged.
Our culture is so concerned with control and with image. Some people can’t fathom what it would be like to loose control over something in life. They fear it would damage their image. But let me ask you a question: Whose image are we concerned with? Are we concerned that when people look at us they are looking at someone who claims the name of Jesus? I don’t know many people who expect perfection out of Christians. Pretty much everyone in culture knows that perfection is an impossibility on this side of eternity. I think what people are looking for is authenticity. It’s not authentic to vaguely mention a fault years later when we are already removed from the situation. “At least I got to save face” we may think to ourselves. But that’s not confessing sins to one another.
I’m not suggesting that we become a society of people who apologizes every time someone is offended. Especially since our culture seems to place so much importance in not offending. However, if you are the type of person who doesn’t apologize because it may be perceived as weak or someone might find out you were wrong about something; NEWS FLASH – We all have weaknesses and none of us are right all the time. So confess your sins to one another. Don’t let pride continue to drive you.