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 →
God gives us promises throughout scripture. We can apply these scriptures to our situations and circumstances to give us peace, to build our faith, to encourage us, and sometimes to even turn the situation around. God also tells us to remind Him, or put Him in remembrance, of His Word. When we remind God, we remind ourselves too! (Here’s a great post on the subject by Victoria Osteen.)
“Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.” Isaiah 43:26 (ESV)
In order to remind God, we have to find and know the verses first to be able to use those scriptures for troubling times. It’s helpful to make a list of some go-to verses to access when those times arise. I’ve put together just a few of my personal favorites here.
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT)
I decided to take a break from discussing insecurity this week. I promise we’ll go back to it! I stumbled onto something pretty cool this past week that I thought I’d share with you. I think you’ll like it too! It’s a free personal profile to discover your “apology language”.
I’m a HUGE fan of Dr. Gary Chapman, who is best known for his New York Times bestseller: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts and the series of books that go along with it. A few years ago I was listening to one of the Focus on the Family podcasts, and Dr. Chapman was discussing the Five Love Languages and how there are also five languages of apology. He’s co-authored a book 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. Listening to the podcast, I found this very intriguing because I’ve noticed myself sometimes having a hard time receiving somebody’s apology simply because of the delivery or because it didn’t feel genuine to me. Dr. Chapman mentioned that “If you receive an apology that omits your apology language, chances are you won’t fully accept it or even recognize it as an apology.” 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”.