Category: Apology

Understanding the value of apologizing.

I was giving a lecture on the five love languages of apology. At the break, a man approached me and said: “For the first time in my life, I understand the value of apologizing. My father’s philosophy was that ‘apologizing gets you nowhere. Do the best you can and never look back.’ That’s pretty much the way I lived until my wife committed adultery.” “So, what would it take for you to forgive her?” I asked. “I want her to admit that what she did was wrong and to promise me that she will never do it again. If I knew that she would never do it again, I think I could forgive her.” This husband was demonstrating the necessity of apologies. There are no healthy marriages without apologies and forgiveness.

Q&A: Is it Possible to be Forgiven?

Q: Gary, my spouse is having a hard time forgiving me after years for hurtful depression from me. Is it possible to be forgiven?

Gary: Forgiveness is always a possibility, but so is resentment. The biblical pattern, though, is always to forgive. When people express to us an apology for a pain they caused us, we must be ready to forgive. That’s the model of God, and that’s to be our model. On the other hand, we can’t demand forgiveness. We can’t make our spouse forgive us. You can say, “Honey, I understand and I see how difficult it may be for you to forgive me with all the pain I’ve caused you through the years, but I hope you do forgive me because I want to have a good life with you in the future.”

What do You Consider to be a Sincere Apology?

What do you consider to be a sincere apology? What does the person need to say or do that will make it possible for you to forgive them? I have discovered that there are five ways that people typically apologize. I call them the five languages of apology.

  1. Expressing regret. “I’m sorry for what I did.”
  2. Accepting responsibility. “I was wrong.”
  3. Making restitution. “What can I do to make things right?”
  4. Genuine repentance. “I don’t want to ever do that again.”
  5. Requesting forgiveness. “Will you please forgive me?”

Which of these is most important to you? That is your primary apology language. Why not share this information with your family and friends so they will know how to apologize to you.

When is the Last Time You Apologized?

When is the last time you apologized? What did you say or do? Did the person to whom you apologized seem to accept your apology? Did they forgive you? Was the relationship healed? If not, I have an idea as to why they found it hard to forgive you. They did not hear your apology as being sincere.

When someone hurts us and is now trying to apologize, the question in our minds is: are they sincere? We judge sincerity by how they apologize. If they simply say, “I’m sorry,” that may seem a bit weak. We may want to hear them say, “I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?” There are five ways to apologize. If you speak only one, you will likely come across as insincere.

3 Things Forgiveness Can Never Do

Forgiveness Does Not Heal Everything. We often have the mistaken idea that forgiveness will wipe the slate clean. Let me share three things that forgiveness does not do.

(1) Forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of wrongdoing. The father who abandons his children may repent ten years later, but forgiveness does not restore the ten years of void.

(2) Forgiveness does not immediately restore trust. Once trust is violated, it must be rebuilt by the person being trustworthy. If that happens, then over time trust will be restored.

(3) Forgiveness does not remove the offense from one’s memory. It does mean that you choose not to hold the offense against them.

Continue reading article by Dr. Jennifer Thomas >>

Q&A: My Wife Never Apologizes

Q: My wife never apologizes, how can I help her with this?

Gary: We are to forgive others as God forgives us. So how does God forgive us? The scriptures say, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins.” Jesus gave us clear instructions in Luke 17 verse 3: If your brother or wife sins against you, confront him or her. If they repent, forgive them. Eventually, if they don’t repent we are to treat them as a pagan. How do we treat pagans? We pray for them. We love them. We return good for evil. It is unconditional love that often touches the heart of the offender. You will need God’s help to follow God’s plan. But it is the most powerful thing you can do when someone refuses to apologize.

Healthy Patterns of Communication

Communication is not enough. It must be healthy communication. There are many unhealthy patterns of communication, but none as deadly as “The Blamer.” “It’s your fault.” “If it weren’t for you everything would be fine.” “You never do anything right.” “I don’t know how you could be so stupid.” The blamer destroys intimacy and makes communication impossible. An ancient Hebrew proverb says, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.” If you are a blamer, I urge you to apologize to the person you so often blame. Your relationship will never improve until you admit your destructive words and seek to understand the other person’s perspective.

Release the Person to God

If you have a tendency to hold anger inside and to withdraw from the person at whom you are angry, please listen. The apostle Paul instructed us to “get rid of anger.” Jesus said, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Anger was meant to be a visitor, not a resident. It is not wrong to feel anger, but it is wrong to hold anger inside. There are two biblical ways to handle anger. First, you may lovingly confront the person at whom you are angry and hope that they will apologize and the relationship can be restored. Secondly, if they persist in hurting you and not apologizing, you can release the person to God. The scriptures say, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay says the Lord.” Trust Him, and don’t live another day with anger.

Love Languages & Apology Languages

She was sitting in my office visibly upset. “I’m sick and tired of his apologies,” she said. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” “That’s all he ever says. That’s supposed to make everything all right. Well, I’m sorry, but when he yells and screams at me and calls me names, that doesn’t make it all right. What I want to know is ‘does he still love me, or does he want out of the marriage? If he loves me then why doesn’t he do something to help me around the house?” In that brief statement she revealed to me that her primary love language is “Acts of service” and her primary apology language is “Making Restitution.” How I wished her husband understood this. Learning your spouse’s love language and apology language could literally save your marriage.

Making Restitution pt. 2

Have you ever apologized and felt like the other person simply was not accepting your apology? Perhaps you’re speaking the wrong apology language. Perhaps you are saying, “I’m sorry.” “I was wrong.” And what they want to hear is “What can I do to make things right?” Making Restitution is one of the five languages of apology and for some people, it is their primary language. In their mind, if you don’t offer to “make things right,” you have not apologized. In the New Testament, Zacchaeus, the tax collector seemed to understand this. When he encountered Jesus, he said: “Those from whom I have stolen, I’ll repay four times what I took.” That is restitution! It is seeking to make amends for the wrong we have done. It is strong evidence of our sincerity.

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