How to Share Offenses & Apologize Biblically

4 questions to ask before telling someone they've offended you and 2 questions to ask when you apologize. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

A relative recently told me I'd offended her. I sincerely asked forgiveness. Afterward, I thought of the many ways that situation could have gone wrong if biblical principles weren’t followed. 

There are times when it's appropriate to tell someone they’ve offended us (Matthew 18:15), but we should first ask ourselves:

1. Am I being petty? Some things should be overlooked.
Proverbs 19:11

4 questions to ask before telling someone they've offended you and 2 questions to ask when you apologize. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

2. Have I tried to see things from the other person's perspective? 
Matthew 7:1-4; Philippians 2:3-4 

3. Am I interested in improving the relationship or just complaining about it?
Romans 12:9

4. Am I prepared to forgive the other person as Jesus forgives me? 
Ephesians 4:32

It's ungodly to ignore an apology or delay our response (Proverbs 3:27).

When we're the one apologizing, we should ask ourselves:

1. Am I apologizing or un-apologizing? 
See Self-Defense and How to Say “I’m Sorry.” 

2. Am I demanding or humbly asking for forgiveness? 
See Forgive Me Or Else!
I encourage you to do a short Bible study on this devotion: Bite Size Bible Study.

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4 questions to ask before telling someone they've offended you and 2 questions to ask when you apologize.

4 questions to ask before telling someone they've offended you and 2 questions to ask when you apologize.

Bible Love Notes


  1. This is the case between my mother and I. We are currently not speaking. I have decided to apologize to her through a letter. Ibwill also explain to her that I am setting a boundary that she can no longer cross. We are both Christians,and while I am sure she feels she's done nothing wrong,,I will carefully remind her that what she repeatedly says to me,is unacceptable. I have forgiven her,but feel it necessary to apologize for the things I responded with. My words were unkind,to say the least. I will say this,my life has truly been better,since we haven't spoken. That may sound odd,but I believe the Lord has given me peace.

    1. Dear Annette,
      What a wonderful step to apologize for your part of your problems. That takes humility and grace.

      I also encourage you to go a step further and really concentrate for a few weeks on God's command to honor our parents before you send that apology. I have found from personal experience and the experiences of others that many problems between adult children and parents stem from our failure to honor our parents fully. When I realized this in my own life, I found that many of the things I considered "offenses" were responses to my lack of respect or interest.

      God's command to honor parents is unique in that it has a promise attached. If we do it out of respect for the Lord, no matter how our parents respond, we will be blessed. I believe Satan works overtime to create brokenness between parent and adult children because he knows how many blessings the children will miss.

      If I were you, I would also write about the boundaries in a separate letter. Adding it to the apology may make it seem like less of an apology and more a correction.

      You might want to read my short post on apologies that aren't really apologies before sending your letter: and this one is helpful too:

      God bless you. I pray God will give you wisdom to navigate this relationship that He says is one of the more important ones in our lives. May we honor Him through honoring our parents.


    2. My situation is a bit different as I have been disowned by my ENTIRE family. I had recently accepted Jesus as my Savior and was repenting for the sin in my life. To do so meant that I had to stop participating in the gossip and back stabbing that my family was partaking in. My father starting demanding me to do things like I was a little kid or I was not welcome at their home any longer. I explained that I am accountable to God first and my husband second and that I couldn't allow him to control me like that. My family took a vote and voted that that my family (yes, there were kids involved) and I were no longer part of the family. While it was EXTREMELY painful, I have felt a peace BEYOND understanding!! This happened ten years ago and I have been given small opportunities to reach out in love and serve them...we also, would invite them to our kids graduations, games, baptisms etc. to no avail. Since this vote, my mother has passed and they refused to call and most recently, my youngest brother took his own life and I had to find out on Facebook because they refuse to call me. Sometimes, honoring your parents means to step out of the chaos and live how God would expect and not man.

    3. It certainly sounds like you did your best and you can't force people to accept you.
      I'm so sorry for this difficult situation.
      God bless you.