“A good apology is something of an art.”– Christine Carter
What is the Theology?
Scripture often addresses apologies and forgiveness in the context of human reconciliation (Matt. 5:23-24; 6:15; 18:15-22; Luk. 17:4). If the Scriptures teach that forgiveness is to be purposed toward reconciling relationships then it follows that Christians should not only be thoughtful in how they extend forgiveness but also in how they apologize. The skill of offering an effective apology, therefore, may be a faithful Christian practice, positively impacting personal growth, pastoral leadership, and community health.
What to Consider
- Consider potential differences between confession toward God (Psa. 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, Jonah 2; Job 42) and apologies toward one another (Gen. 32-33; Luk. 11:3-5)? Might Carter’s article be informative for Christian confession toward God as well?
- When has an apology made a difference in your life? What about that apology did you find most helpful? How might that apology be contrasted with other, less effective apologies?
- What apology are you waiting to receive? What do you believe this apology will do or be for you? How might the hope of this apology impact the way you extend apologies toward others?
How to go Deeper
- Practice effective apologizing in your daily life. Spend time reflecting on the three parts of effective apologies and consider how you can implement them with your partner, your family, and your congregation.
- Some of the most channeling and robust reflection on apologizing and amends-making is found in Steps 8 and 9 of 12 Step programs. Spend time reading the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and consider how these principles may apply to your life and ministry.
- Preach a sermon series on forgiveness and apologizing, stressing how the latter is vital for restored relationships.
What is the Science? While the benefits of forgiveness are widely supported by two decades of research, a recent study seeks to demonstrate the positive impact of forgiveness within the specific context of [...]
What is the Science? Often the catalyst for receiving forgiveness is offering a good apology. Yet, in her article “The Three Parts of an Effective Apology,” Christine Carter suggests that all apologies are [...]
What is the Science? After victimization, many people desire vengeance. In well-publicized atrocities, such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing or the 2012 Colorado movie theater shooting, prosecutors, the public, and victims’ families [...]
What is the Science? Forgiveness is a difficult thing. It can take a great amount of time and work to arrive at a place where we can let go of hostility and [...]
Which Contributes More to Forgiveness, Sympathy or Free Will?
Article by Michael McCullough (2013)
Read the Full Article
What is the Science? Psychologist Michael McCullough suggests that when humans consider forgiving others they instinctively engage in one of two distinct systems for arriving at forgiveness: sympathy or free will. McCullough argues [...]
What is the Science? Research has long suggested that if a person carries a prolonged grievance they risk adverse health effects. Now, a new study suggests that one’s determination to hold a grudge [...]