Have you ever been in an argument with your significant other? Or with a very close friend? I don’t mean a “who ate the last of the ice cream that I wanted to eat” argument. I mean an real issue that you are having difficulty working out? And in that argument you said things you shouldn’t have and hurt the other person? The truth is we all have.
I would bet the moment you said the hurtful thing, you knew it. You knew you had further complicated the issue and hurt the other person. What did you do? How do you overcome those moments that you are hurtful and didn’t mean to be?
Alexander Pope once said, “To err is human, but to forgive is divine.”
Indira Gandhi said, “Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.”
I agree with both of these statements, and I would like to take them a step further. To apologize is also divine and brave. There is power in a genuine apology. Don’t you agree? Let me describe three ways that I have seen this power work in my own life.
When I am discussing an issue with someone I want to remember that the person is always more important than the issues. My wife and I have been in discussions before that have gotten away from us. In those times I may have said things that I thought were not offensive, but she heard something other than what I thought I said. It takes a few moments, but I realize that I have caused hurt. What do I do in that moment or realization? Stop the conversation and apologize. My wife is worth more to me than whatever the issue is we are discussing. Her feelings are worth more than my pride. So, I offer a heart felt apology and something that could have been very hurtful is passed over and quickly we return to a meaningful conversation.
Next, by apologizing I keep a grounded view. I am not always right. Far from it. If I am willing to admit that it leads to deeper relationships and more trust. Have you been around people who never admit they are wrong? Are they the coolest people in the room? In a word, no. There is a scripture that says, Pride goes before a fall. A person who is unwilling to admit they are wrong is operating from a position of pride. I don’t want to be that person.
Lastly, I am building strength with each apology. Building character is hard work. It is choosing day after day to make good, consistent choices. When I have done wrong, or brought offence the right choice is to offer an apology and to make the situation right. By making this choice, I want people to know when they deal with me that I am a good team mate and friend.
There is power in apology. I encourage you to remember that as you examine your relationships. Is the person more important that the issue? Have you been a victim of your own pride? Have you treated others fairly? I am confident that you will know when it is right to offer an apology, and you will see its power work for the good.