Apologies: Because People Aren't Perfect
When is the last time you apologized? What did you say or do? Did the person to whom you apologized seem to accept your apology? Did they forgive you? Was the relationship healed? If not, I have an idea as to why they found it hard to forgive you. They did not hear your apology as being sincere.
When someone hurts us and is now trying to apologize, the question in our minds is: are they sincere? We judge sincerity by how they apologize. If they simply say, "I'm sorry," that may seem a bit weak. We may want to hear them say, "I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?" There are five ways to apologize. If you speak only one, you will likely come across as insincere.
Do you know how to apologize? Chances are you do what your parents taught you, but that may not be enough. Dr. Jennifer Thomas and I discovered that people have different ideas on what it means to apologize. In fact there are five languages of apology. If you don't speak the right language you are not likely to have a favorable response.
If you aren't sure how to apologize, consider saying this: "I value our relationship. What do I need to do or say in order for you to consider forgiving me?" Their answer will reveal their 'primary apology language'. Express your apology in that language and will likely receive forgiveness.
What do you consider to be a sincere apology? What does the person need to say or do that will make it possible for you to forgive them? I have discovered that there are five ways that people typically apologize. I call them the five languages of apology.
Expressing regret. "I'm sorry for what I did."
Accepting responsibility. "I was wrong."
Making restitution. "What can I do to make things right?"
Genuine repentance. "I don't want to ever do that again."
Requesting forgiveness. "Will you please forgive me?"
Which of these is most important to you? That is your primary apology language. Why not share this information with your family and friends so they will know how to apologize to you.
Do you have a relationship that is presently broken or fractured? What would it take to heal the relationship? I'd like to suggest two essentials: apologizing and forgiving. When we have hurt someone, it is time to apologize. Don't let your pride keep you from admitting that you were wrong.
When someone has hurt you, it is time to confront. Jesus said that if someone sins against you, then you should tell them, and seek reconciliation. Don't let fear keep you from confronting the person who has hurt you. Healthy relationships must be authentic. You cannot suffer in silence and hope things will work out. There are no healthy marriages without apologies and forgiveness.
The Five Languages of Apology
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