“Have you noticed? It can be a challenge to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ Oh, it’s not hard to speak the words, but it can be tough to say them with sincerity. Why? Probably because we understand that to apologize is to accept responsibility for ill-spoken words or misbehavior. It requires humility on our part, which can often be confused with giving someone else the upper hand over us. That’s why apologies tend to be viewed as a weakness.
“It’s also why people offer apologies that have been stripped of any real meaning. We minimize the severity of our actions; we blame our behavior on others; or maybe we say all the right words, but dilute them with sarcasm or humor. Whatever the method, we recognize a false act of contrition when we see it because the result is always the same: the appearance of an apology without the substance of one. And rather than healing, shallow platitudes often deepen a loved one’s wounds. Like a doctor’s empty syringe, an empty apology pierces the soul but offers nothing that can bring healing.
“That’s why, far from being a weakness, a heart-felt apology requires strength because it demands deep sincerity on behalf of the person offering it. That inner strength and humility often requires God’s grace to express. The Lord’s role is crucial because mending a relationship-gone-wrong has little to do with the specific words we use to express our contrition. The healing comes from the authenticity we pour into our words and actions.” —Jim Daly