Thursday, October 4, 2012

I used to love the game Sorry! when I was a kid.  The game title comes from the many ways in which a player can prevent the progress of another player, while issuing an apologetic "Sorry!"

"Sorry!" Oh, how easily that word sometimes rolls off the tongue with no sincerity or depth of meaning. Often people think that saying the "sorry" word gets them off the hook for any sort of indiscretion.  True repentance though involves more than a token "sorry."

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." Remember that line from the popular 70s movie Love Story? I never did buy into that idea. Relationships involve all kinds of opportunities to apologize and to forgive.

Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Jennifer Thomas have identified five "languages" of an apology that when applied, can greatly enhance our relationships.

Expressing Regret
"I am sorry."

Accepting Responsibility
"I was wrong."

Making Restitution
"What can I do to make it right?"

Genuinely Repenting
"I'll try not to do that again."

Requesting Forgiveness
"Will you please forgive me?"

Usually, we don't get past step one when it comes to expressing a regret. We mumble a confession and then offer excuses and explanantions. The "language of apology" provides steps to lead us to be sincere and to make amends for our wrongdoings.

I wonder how many marriages could be saved by couples practicing persuasive apologies. How many children could grow up taking ownership of their wrongdoings or careless behavior by being taught how to apologize? How many work relationships could be strengthened by people offering sincere apologies?

The most important relationship that requires repentance is the one we have with Jesus Christ. Repentance is an essential element of the Christian faith.

"...repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)

"Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)

Let's use the "language of apology" in not only our relationships on earth but in the one that will give us eternal rewards - the one with our Heavenly Father.


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