Apology or Excuse?

I recently read a little quote that gave me a chuckle.  It read – “Never ruin an apology with an excuse” and was credited to Benjamin Franklin.  On the surface, it is humorous but when given more thought, it is the way with so many people.  There is always a good reason for what they did or said.  Apologies are never easy.  What makes them so difficult? A big reason might be that a person has to actually admit they are wrong or made a mistake.  And for some people, they’d rather get hit by a Mack truck than admit they were wrong. A great excuse for many is “Well, I didn’t know!”  So does that make it  alright, just because they didn’t get all the facts?  Not to the person on the receiving end.  Everyone makes mistakes – everyone speaks out of turn – no one is right all the time.  Stupid things are done and said and require apologies to begin the healing process.  A crucial element, though, is sincerity!  A phony apology is almost as offensive as what the apology is actually for.  “I’m sorry you feel that way” is not an apology.  It’s like saying “My actions were right, your reaction was wrong”.  A genuine fear of apologizing is whether it will be accepted.  If your apology is sincere, your burden is met and hopefully the offended will accept and allow emotional repairs to begin.  Old Ben had an important insight – if you’ve offered an excuse, did you really apologize?

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.  James 5:16 (NLT)

14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.  Hebrews 12:14-15 (NLT)