Have you ever had someone give you a “faux-apology”? You know the ones…
Here is a lil list:
1. Any apology that says “I am sorry that you…”
Um, no. You do not get to be sorry for anything “me”…you are either sorry for something “you”, or you are not sorry. Don’t hide behind the words “I’m Sorry” to issue another attempt at policing me in some form or fashion.
2. Any apology that starts out with “I’m sorry if…”
Naawww…nope. Nada. Not going there, doesn’t work, and you cannot say that to me. You are not sorry nor do you have cognizance of what you did. You just know that I am hurt and want me to stop being so in order for you to feel good about yourself again.
3. Any apology for lack of clarity over what was said when the true offense was the actual saying in the first place. If someone says something hurtful, and then apologizes because they were not more clear in how they said whatever hurt they said? No…not. Not an apology.
4. Any apology that contains some sort of implication that they are sorry they were not more available so you could approach them and repent to them. Um…yeah, no.
Here is how you do it.
“Dear One…what I said, what I did, what I thought (fill in the blank) in that it broke our relationship (or damaged it or harmed it) was wrong (inappropriate, hurtful, immoral, etc). I have wronged you and hurt you, and I can clearly see that I bear responsibility in this.
“I am so sorry.
“These words carry no power in and of themselves until I fill them with life as I demonstrate true remorse by living (speaking, thinking, acting) differently from now on, and treating every other person I meet differently as a result of this.
“You are free to act as you feel the need, and it is my hope that someday I will have opportunity to work together with you to rebuild things (trust, fidelity, integrity, understanding, etc). But I do realize this is not mine to demand, but yours to give as you choose.
“I deserve no props or cudos for this, and God deliver me from getting what I deserve.
“My heart is hurting at my failure in this, and I will let this pain make me a better person, and the doors will be open to you if you choose to offer me forgiveness and grace. Until that time, I remain committed to change and to you.”
Now…I wrote out a bunch of words, to convey the attitude of an apology that does not obligate or demand.
It is of course a two way street. Rare are the relational ruptures that do not involve wrong on each side.
But you are not about pointing out to someone else how they hurt you if you are there to apologise to them, now are you? You are there because you see that you failed and fell short…right?
No? Hmmm…better go review the numbers up at the top of the post!