How Not to Say "I'm Sorry"

We can say we're sorry and actually make things worse. So let's follow these 3 Biblical principles.

HOW
we say "I’m sorry" is critically important.
 
We can apologize:
1. Without genuine sorrow.
2. With an excuse attached.
3. With a blame-shift attached.
4. With a self-righteous attitude.
These things prove we're not repentant.

When we're confronted with a sin, we should:

1. Ask God to show us specifically what we did wrong.

For example: "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." 
Not: "Sorry if I bothered you. That's just the way I express myself."

2. Remember forgiveness is a gift we don’t deserve.

Forgiveness is always an undeserved gift from God and from the person(s) we offended. We should never demand forgiveness or expect a person to "get over it" easily. See Forgive Me or Else!

3. Allow some time between our apology and a discussion if necessary.

It’s important to work through things and reconcile, but timing is important. Explanations that quickly follow an apology may sound more like excuses. 

So next time we’re wrong, let's offer a sincere, heartfelt apology. The Lord is eager to help us do this. And it's important for our relationship with the Lord and with others.

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To reinforce and better understand the truths in this devotion, see: 


Paul talks about genuine repentance in 2 Corinthians 7. Also, read James 4:8-10 and David's sincere apology in Psalm 51. Check out the Bible Love Notes collection of one-minute devotions in the collection called Our Need for Repentance. Go through those devotions with your small group or Bible study for a well-rounded look at godly repentance.

https://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Life-Devotional-One-Minute-Reflections/dp/1087775760

I encourage you to check out the Wisdom for Life Devotional. It contains 100 one-minute devotions to challenge, encourage, instruct, and inspire your love for God's Word: Wisdom for Life. Read the story behind Wisdom for Life HERE. And find out about the two free Bible studies with purchase HERE. You can read the first four devotions in the book by clicking "look inside" on Lifeway or Amazon.
 
I also encourage you to sign up for a free subscription to Bible Love Notes and get a free e-booklet. Find out more HERE.


We can say we're sorry and actually make things worse. So let's follow these 3 Biblical principles.


Bible Love Notes

19 comments:

  1. Good points! I remember reading about how to make a true apology in Ken Sande's Peacemaker materials so reading this this morning was a great reminder!

    -Elizabeth
    www.thewarriorwives.com

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  2. Oh, my, your advice is wise and convicting. I love the reminder that a sincere apology does not include ifs, ands, buts. I tend to be quick to apologize but then still want to explain "my side." Not sincere. I'm printing out your points and filing it in my "marriage tips"! Great to meet you thru Ann today.

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    1. Thanks, Alicia. I'm glad this was helpful. I need to remind myself of these things as well. thanks for stopping by and leaving an encouraging comment.

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  3. I "forgave" my husband...but I held onto the hurt, anger and he suffered my wrath. When I finally realised after years of suffering my own ignorance and loss in my marriage and I truly forgave him - I released him to start his own healing process. I apologised to him for my dishonesty and our marriage healed. Thank you for your encouragement to all of us that apology is the start of healing.

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  4. Yours is a good point, Noeline. How we forgive is just as critical as how we apologize. And even if someone apologizes genuinely, we can fail to forgive genuinely. Thanks for sharing your story and the victory you had in it. I pray that God will continue to bless your marriage relationship with genuine repentance, forgiveness, and love.

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  5. Hi Gail - point number 3 is hard for me! I apologise and then I want to deal with the issue. He wants to mull over it and think it through. So, for me, great advice. Saving this post as a favourite. One always needs to read stuff like this. Great post
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. I'm with you on that one, Tracy, and I'm a slow learner...but I'm pressing on. Thanks for your comment and encouragement.

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  6. Gail,
    I just saw found you on No Ordinary Blog Hop! I love your point that forgiveness is a skill and habit that can be learned and practiced. It's a gift for any relationships, and it's also God's gift to us!
    Thanks for the post!
    Blessings,
    Ann

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Dr. Ann. It means a lot coming from someone with your experience.

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  7. This is a great post- thanks Gail! I especially can relate to "A sincere apology will not include ifs, ands or buts." Guilty here! Thank you for this thought provoking post.

    ~Nicole, Working Kansas Homemaker

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  8. Hi, Gail,
    I shared your post on my FB page and linked back to you as part of featuring you on the weekly link-up. I hope you will consider contributing often. God bless you, new friend :)

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  9. I need to print this so that I can keep it :-) handy. Your advice is so perfect but it can be hard to put into practice and 'let go' of the issue at hand. I don't hold grudges very long, I can't even remember the offense, but I MUST forgive, and without realizing, it is too easy to ask forgiveness still clarifying reasons why I am right. What kind of apology is that?! It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that I press on to His high calling on my life. Thanks so much Gail. What a precious friend. I think I am going to post this to my FB page too!!

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  10. Beautiful post and came just at the right time...actually today the Lord ministered to me and I had to apologize...I really felt the blessing of a heartfelt apology...so God just used you to confirm this powerful true for my marriage..keep up the good work! Remain blessed xx PS I´ll also featured you on my FB Page: Womanhood With Purpose ;)

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    1. Thanks, Angie, for sharing how God is working in your life, and thanks for sharing this post on your FB page. Bless you, Gail

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  11. It really takes humility to say, "I'm sorry, or I was wrong." Especially when you are angry. The Holy Spirit has a way of making us uncomfortable with results of bad behavior. As God has forgiven us, we have to be willing to forgive others, especially our spouse.

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  12. My oh my I needed to see this...my husband has been reminding me that an apology doesn't include "I f's, ands or buts". I always feel I need to explain myself. I also need to print out these 3 very valid points...talk to God, forgiveness is a gift and allow time before I dive into a discussion. Thank you.

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  13. Thank you for this lesson. I so needed it. My favorite is remembering that God's forgiveness is an undeserved GIFT. This reminder blessed me to the core. Thanks again.

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  14. Currently reading and studying a book called: Resolving everyday Conflict, in Bible Study by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson. A excellent reference to Bibcal restoration of relationships with assistance in forgiving, proper apologies, and peacemaking. A must read for all of us! We all need forgiveness as imperfect people.
    God forgives us, we need forgive one another, no matter WHO is right or wrong, a true Christan relationship does not hold grudges or lack of forgiveness. Love one another, as I LOVE YOU, says JESUS : This was JESUS final commandment before he was resurrected.Pray for Peacemaking for all.

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    1. I will definitely look into this book. We need Christian books that tell us how to constructively restore relationships instead of telling us to set up boundaries and avoid the problems.

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