Snow & Mechanics of Apology

Snow & Mechanics of Apology

A few important details: If the annual meeting and worship are to be cancelled, you will get an email note tomorrow afternoon and notice will also be posted on the website. Regarding the annual meeting, officers standing for re-election are Tom Bilbro and Kurt Kreiger.

A few thoughts on why we ought to apologize when appropriate. Two initial factors: 1) we are sinners and our sin inevitably affects others around us; 2) admitting the hurt our sin causes others is repulsive to us, creating a unique and damaging blindness. Our assumption that all we conceive and do is right — think Eve in the garden — is freakishly powerful. The consequence is that apology, as ordinary and easy as it ought to be, becomes a great act of courage. Alas, in my experience people, even the best of them, rarely apologize.

When we offend someone, then move on without addressing it, without speaking, we are telling them: “this is the way I intend to act, deal with it.” An old statute of courtesy or honesty or kindness or responsibility has been struck down and replaced by the new barbarism. The first thing an apology does is say, “regardless of my behavior, I still intend to uphold with you all that is true, good, and beautiful as the Lord gives those to us in his word.”

Every apology has two phases, the first addressing God (“against you, and you only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight” – Ps. 51:4); the second addressing the person offended. Ultimately, the two are one. We cannot have union with God and (wrongful) disunion with others (Mt. 5:23ff — “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”).

Apology heals a wound. Again, as sinners, inevitably our behavior wounds others. We compound this in always thinking our own deeds righteous and the deeds of others flawed. When we flip that around, acknowledging the plank in our own eyes and nothing more than a splinter in the eyes of others (Mt. 7.3), we begin to see rightly… and recognize we have hurt someone. Seize that moment. As the person who has caused the pain, you have unique power to relieve it. Apologize.

Finally, apology creates hope. An apology clears the air of all the uncertainties and questions raised by new, offensive behavior. It’s says, “I don’t intend to go forward on false, flawed terms after all.” It is a new beginning and “outwits” Satan (see 2 Cor 2:5-11). The path forward becomes visible, grounded not in denial and intentional ignorance, but repentance and forgiveness. The future is unencumbered.

Chances are there is someone in your life to whom you owe an apology. It doesn’t matter that they may also have been in the wrong — you can’t do anything about that. But you can do something about what you have done. You can apologize.