Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why Do We Say Sorry?

2 Corinthians 7:8-9
"Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while—yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us."

It makes me ask: Why do we say sorry after hurting someone?

I might seem to be saying a very 'duh' question. But really, why do we say sorry for hurting someone?

It's not the hurt that we should be apologizing for. Nobody expects your dentist to apologize to you for doing wisdom tooth surgery on you.

But it's the intent behind the hurt. Was it to protect ourselves that we ended up hurting the other person, or was it to really help the other person be built up or was it simply because we were not in the best of moods, and the other party just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Sometimes we apologize for causing hurt. But is that a biblical practice? As though the absence of hurt was a cardinal virtue? Then God would have so much to apologize for. But obviously, the absence of pain is not a virtue in itself, as the Bible clearly teaches.

Rather, what we have to reflect on is the heart's motive behind causing the hurt, & our mistakes in rendering the hurt, if well-intentioned. Of course, if it's really just us being frustrated at something else at hand, I think that's perfectly understandable.

Thus that's why an "I'm sorry I made you feel this way." is one of the most backhanded and selfish "apologies". Far better not to apologize then. Stop adding to the hurt and piling up your sins before God. You will have to give an account to God for these careless words you speak!

But if you're genuinely sorry for your selfish reasons, an apology is a great way to demonstrate your repentance, especially when followed up with a clear statement of where you were wrong.

And if your conscience was clear but your actions caused harm and more damage than intended, it would be the right thing to apologize too.

Don't just say sorry. Explain and confess clearly what you are saying for. Then you will be in a very good position to a receive grace and mercy and be at peace with all men.

In short, don't say sorry unless you genuinely believe that you were wrong. Otherwise it's very hypocritical.

Interestingly, I recall today, that one dear co-worker apologized to me over some props stuff. There had been some mix-up, and I hurriedly asked her to cut a hole in the prop. Well, she was quite flustered as she had to rush a lot of other things too, so she was a bit annoyed, which I could see from her face. But after that, she apologized to me. I was surprised, but it was very nice of her. Actually I wasn't offended or even expecting any apology, as I understood that she was hard-pressed for time. Told her jokingly that thank God that she hadn't cut a hole in me with her penknife at that time!

But really, I'm very blessed by her genuineness of apology, not because I felt slighted or hurt, or even that she was not at her finest mood at that moment, but simply because she really apologized and stated clearly what she thought she had done wrong.

Not to assuage a guilty conscience, nor as an act of politeness, but simply a genuine confession of what she believed she had done wrong and wanted to put right. It's so refreshing, her spirit! :)

Sent from my iPhone

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