True Repentance: What to look for…
You hear about people that have done things to hurt or wrong others and then apologize and immediately relationships are restored. Then, that same person may turn around and repeat that same offense only to cause further hurt and damage trust in their relationships. The offended may feel frustrated and confused because the offender apologized, and they truly felt it was genuine. So what happened? Did they restore relationship too quickly? Was the offender really sincere in their apology? Was there really true repentance?
Unfortunately though, sometimes people deliver apologies or want to restore relationship without having true repentance. There are some gauges we can use to discern whether or not a person is indeed fully and completely repentant. There is some evidence that we can look for as well as some indicators that they may not be at a place of full and true repentance yet.
Let’s take a look…
Genuine apologies are offered in true repentance
Previously, I wrote a post about how to apologize effectively. In that post I mentioned a book that Dr. Gary Chapman co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Thomas titled When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right with Those You Love in which they detail the study of apologies and how people give and receive them. The goal of their book was to help people “learn the techniques to effectively recognize and deliver apologies and watch relationships thrive as a result”.
The five basic languages of apology are:
- Accept Responsibility—this is basically just admitting you are wrong and accepting full responsibility for your actions
- Expressing Regret—this is a genuine “I’m sorry” and show of remorse for causing pain
- Make Restitution—in this form of apology you commit to making things right
- Genuinely Repent—this shows the sincere desire to modify your behavior and future actions
- Request Forgiveness—in this apology language you recognize the need for forgiveness, and you physically ask for forgiveness
A genuine apology that contains all five of these aspects may be an indicator of true repentance. However, words can only go so far, and as the saying goes…actions speak louder than words. So there are some other things to look for as well. Continue reading