Apology and Credibility

23 12 2011

A friend of mine recently announced publicly that his task on that particular day was to apologize.  He made the announcement online–social media–and it certainly got my attention.  And others, no doubt.

That’s bold, I thought.

He’s a minister and dear to my family and me. I’ve no idea what he’d done warranting reparation or to whom he’d done it.  Nor any need to know.  What matters is that he had the character and the courage to humble himself and mend the relationship, rather than saving face and taking the easy way out.

The end result?  Two people loving one another even more instead of alienation and pain.  A relationship spared and strengthened.

I served as a pastor on and off for about 16 years.  There are very few areas where one can more easily offend and err than in matters of the soul, even without intending to.  I made loads of mistakes in my handling of human beings and the Holy Scriptures.  And apologized a lot, though not nearly enough.

When you humble yourself and say, “I was wrong; please forgive me,” you are stepping into the unknown.  There’s the very real possibility of rejection and disdain.  A rebuff.

But there’s at least one profound and miraculous benefit from owning your failures without horns and equivocation: You create credibility.  I’m particularly impressed with the title of Jim Bakker’s memoir, simply I Was Wrong.  A well-known minister, who’d made a lot of well-publicized  errors and said “I’m sorry.”

I’ve seen lots of other men and women avoid owning their failures and I have to tell you they lose out every time.  They weaken their influence.  They create distance.  The world becomes a lonelier place for them.  It’s heartbreaking.

I’m really proud of my buddy for what he did.  And really excited for the possibilities that such actions open up.  Not just for him but for any who humble themselves and tell it like it is.

If you blow it, just own it.  Say “I’m sorry.”  Come on into the water—it’s not that cold and you get used to it quickly.  There’s a line of people waiting to cheer you on as you make things right.




2 responses

23 12 2011
Eric Alagan

Knowing is the first step – most of us know
But practising it – that is where most fail
We should all do as your friend.
Merry Christmas,

23 12 2011
Christian Fahey

Good point Eric. It’s not easy. Merry Christmas to you as well!

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