I was watching the Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant in their US presidential debates. Both candidates issued apologies for the past mistakes and wrongs committed.
And I saw many shades of apologies.
I feel these apologies are anything but authentic. Here are some (not based on exact quotes).
It is an apology that says, “I admit what I did was wrong. I apologize. But you are no saint either. What you did is worse. You have no right to call the kettle black!” Here is a counter attack kind of apology with no true admission of one’s fault.
This kind of apology goes something like “I apologize I’ve said some foolish things. But ‘there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people.’ Look, your husband has actually abused women, and yourself has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.” It is a comparing apology implying “I am sorry for what I said. Mine was just words. But in comparison yours were actual deeds!”
Such apology says, “I am sorry. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow.” It is as if my promise to change in the future mitigates all that I done in the past.
Mitigating apology seeks to justify the mistakes. It says, “I am sorry but I thought what I did was allowed and I had acted in good faith.“ Not quite an apology but a plead of innocence and ignorance to mitigate wrongs committed.
This apology simply says, “I was wrong, and I apologize.” There was no specific mention of the wrongs commitment and a genuine sorrow for those who have been hurt, wounded, marred and offended.
It is apologizing and blaming it on something else, like the circumstances or even human weakness. “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not.” Such apology does not express true and deep sorrow for wrongs done.
There will always be need for apologies in all our human interaction and relationships. The question is how authentic is your apology.
It is interesting the Bible never uses those words, “I’m sorry.” Rather God prefer us to say, “Forgive me.”
Saying “I’m sorry” is so much easier than saying “forgive me.” The former does not call for any response whilst the later risks a response of rejection and humiliation.
Often people may say sorry but never repentant. That’s why the Word of God calls us towards a deep and godly sorrow that brings true repentance and sincere restitution.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (II Corinthians 7:10).