No, “but” or “if” or “you!” Words NOT to use when apologizing.
May 18, 2020
It was a pretty contentious meeting. For many reasons, the folks around the virtual table just couldn’t quite agree on the best steps forward, emotions were high, tempers were quick.
Someone closed the meeting in a prayer, but the prayer itself was full of jabs and innuendos.
I’ve been around the block in ministry for a few decades. I’ve lived through a lot . . . but I have to admit, it was the first passive aggressive prayer I can remember being a part of.
I sent a message after the meeting to my colleague and asked if we could talk.
“Hey, I just wanted you to know that I recognize the tensions that were present in the meeting and it’s clear that there are just a few folks that don’t want to move in the same direction that the organization is trying to go. I’m fine if we need to have that conversation, and I’m even fine to amend the ask, put more steps and processes in place, whatever the majority feels like needs to be done so that things are fair. But hey, if you have a problem with me or something I propose or say, address it with me. Don’t just throw out passive-aggressive prayers. That isn’t cool.”
They responded with a chapter and Bible verse, i.e. “I’m a Genesis 1:1 kind of guy.”
I replied with, “Yes, I love Jesus too, but we need to resolve our conflict. Our arguing is getting us nowhere.”
“Well, I’m sorry you feel . . .”
I knew then that was the end of the discussion. I was going to get nowhere so I may as well just let it go, play nicely in the sandbox and explore some different strategies next time.
“I’m sorry you feel . . .”
How could he be sorry for my feelings?
Sometimes they are hard to give. And also, hard to receive. This week in our Musing Meditations (daily devotions) we are going to explore apologies. Both how to give and how to receive.Truth is, even if we THINK we are great at apologizing, we probably have much to learn.
A true apology doesn’t include the word “but, if, or you” right after the word “sorry.” True apologies simply state, “I’m sorry.”
“But, if, and you” actually cancel out the apology
Harriet Lerner, a renowned clinical psychologist has written multiple best sellers on relationships, including Why Won’t You Apologize, and the “Nine Rules for True Apologies.” Tomorrow I’ll share the nine rules so that we can all work at being better apologizers.
Today, be mindful, watch, and listen to how to give apologies.
Make “but, if, and you” words that aren’t said.
Instead . . . maybe just say, “I’m sorry.”
They are two of the most important words in our language. They are the heart of a heartfelt apology.
Here’s what Jesus said we should do about apologizing . . .
23-24 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. Matthew 5:23-24
You are reading a Musing Meditation by Andrea Smith, Pastor, West Church, Lake Norman, Mooresville, NC.
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