tWhen my kids were younger, I realized that they were starting a bad habit of just saying "sorry" anytime they hit their sibling or snatched something from them without asking for it. They figured that all the had to so was say "Sorry" and that made what they were doing ok.
I wasn't ok with that. So I started teaching them a real apology. Anytime they would do something to hurt their sibling, I would make them look their brother or sister in the eye and say,
"I'm sorry for.......
It was wrong.
Would you please forgive me?"
And then the sibling only had to say, "Thank You for the apology." I told them that if they wanted to they could add, "I forgive you." But to only say if they really meant it. We can't force the other person to forgive us in that moment. Forgiveness is something that is given to us......it can't be forced or just taken from someone else. When we are in the wrong we are never owed forgiveness. We should be grateful when we receive it.
These "apologies" were great lessons on how our actions and words can hurt others. And that even when we are truly sorry for what we have done, saying sorry can't change what we have done and make the hurt go away. It just lets the other person know that we understand we were wrong and we will plan to act differently in the future.
I think one of the most important things to remember about a true apology is that you do NOT add an excuse to it. Saying "I'm sorry I did something that hurt you, but you also did something to hurt me" is not an apology. When you add an excuse to your apology you feel that you were justified for the way you acted and expect to be excused.
I came across an easy way to remember this concept......
When you say, "I'm sorry, but......" you're really just a sorry butt.
And who wants to be a sorry butt?? I don't.
And while we're on the topic of apologies, here are a couple of other great tips:
~ Don't apologize for someone else's feelings. Saying, "I'm sorry you're mad" is not an apology. It's condescending.
~Do apologize for your own actions and attitudes. "I'm sorry I was rude" takes ownership. Be specific for what you've done wrong.
~Don't expect a reciprocal apology. Do no apologize expecting the other person to apologize equally. Just own your part of it. The end.
~Do attempt to make a repair. It's wise to take the next step and ask, "Is there anything I can do to make this right?"
I love this list by Dave Willis:
A real apology requires:
~freely admitting fault
~ fully accepting responsibility
~humbly asking forgiveness
~immediately changing behavior
~actively rebuilding trust
Think about the last time you apologized for something that you had done wrong. Did you give a real apology or were you a Sorry Butt??
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.