'Sorry'—the Key to Peace – Part 1 — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

‘Sorry’—the Key to Peace – Part 1 — Morning Devotions

Apologies are an effective way to restore trust and gain respect. We should never be too proud to say sorry and seek forgiveness.

By Chris WittsTuesday 26 Dec 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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There are some things that are very difficult to say. One is, I am sorry—especially for us men. It is just a small phrase, yet one we find so hard to say. It costs nothing to say sorry—why are we so reluctant to do so?

Perhaps it is about personal esteem and feeling that we may lose face in the eyes of others, to admit that we were wrong. Human pride refuses to say sorry, and yet humble people are usually willing to say sorry, instead of making excuses or blaming others. We say I’m sorry to someone to let them know that we realise we did something wrong, and that we regret having hurt them.

But as we all know, some apologies are genuine, and some are not. If we tell someone we are sorry, but keep doing the same thing we claimed to be sorry for, our apology is worthless. It is only genuine if, after saying we are sorry, we stop doing what we apologised for! Otherwise, we aren’t sorry at all. We are merely trying to avoid the consequences of our actions.

Do you still apologise?

Sometimes you hear people saying, I’m not saying sorry! It’ll mean admitting I’m guilty. I’ll never be trusted again! They’ll think I’m weak. They’ll win, but I’m right!

Of course, no-one is suggesting we need apologise for something for which we are not to blame. Certainly there are often occasions when the wisest course is to be careful of what we say. In the Bible, Proverbs 10:19 (GNT) says, “The more you talk, the more likely you are to sin. If you are wise, you will keep quiet”.

The fact is though, many people have stopped apologising:

  • In the office the boss may comment, The workers never own up to their mistakes—they blame someone else and never say sorry.
  • In the school the teacher may conclude, The children these days are just not brought up to say “Excuse me”.
  • In the home the wife may complain, My husband never apologises for a single thing! He always has to be right!

Why is that? One of the reasons we hesitate to apologise may well be the fear of being rejected by the other person. We may think they will feel so hurt they will totally avoid us, making reconciliation even harder. As a result, we may never get the chance to tell them how we really feel.

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Apologies are powerful

They would never forgive me anyway, we may think. But is saying sorry really so important? Just what are the benefits of apologising?

An apology is powerful. Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, Washington, USA, commented:

Apologies are powerful. They are an effective way to restore trust and gain respect. They can be a sign of strength: proof that the apologiser has the self-confidence to admit a mistake.

I think that’s a powerful statement, don’t you?

A great illustration of saying sorry comes from the New Testament story of the Prodigal Son, that we read in Luke 15:17-24. You might know this story about a young son who left home with his share of his father’s inheritance and wasted all the money.

He was without a job, starving, and decided he had to go back home, a broken and sorry young man. He had broken his father’s heart and disgraced the family name, but when he saw his father he wept and apologised for his foolishness.

In fact he said, I am not worthy to be called your son. His father welcomed him back home with open arms. It shows that a heart-felt apology can be very effective in mending a broken relationship.

For those with a sincere and humble heart, an apology is not so difficult to give. We should never be too proud to say sorry and seek forgiveness.

(To be continued in ‘Sorry’—the Key to Peace – Part 2)