- I can say it without any genuine sorrow or thought.
- I can say it with an excuse attached.
- I can say it with a blame-shift attached.
- I can say it self-righteously.
Here’s three things I ask God to help me do when I need to apologize:
1. Show me exactly what I did and the sinful attitude behind it. Then ask forgiveness for these specifics, not vague generalizations.
- "Will you forgive me for being critical and short-tempered today?"
- not: "If I did anything to bother you today, I'm sorry"
- not: "I'm sorry I haven't been at my best."
3. Allow some time between my apology and a discussion. It’s important to work through things that are causing friction, but timing is important. If explanations follow too soon after an apology, they sound more like excuses. A sincere apology will not include "ifs, ands or buts."
So next time you’re wrong…even if you aren’t the only one wrong, give the gift of a sincere, heartfelt apology. The Lord is eager to help you do this!
*Paul talks about genuine repentance in 2 Corinthians 7. Also read James 4:8-10.
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