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Okay, it’s time that you know one of my pet peeves. I can’t stand it when someone, by way of an apology, says the following:

I’m sorry if I hurt you/offended anyone/mispoke.

Or even worse:

I’m sorry if you were hurt/were offended/etc.

I can’t stand these because they are not apologies. They are conditional statements. There is no admission of guilt, only an if you felt x, then I am sorry. It’s even worse if you express your conditional statements in the passive because then you imply that the guilt really lies with the offended party. “If you were offended” implies that the other person might be a little too sensitive.

What does a real apology look like? It is an admission of guilt and a request for forgiveness. This is not an easy thing to do. I have a family member who can’t bring himself to ever say that he is sorry; it’s just too vulnerable or something. Another family member would inevitably¬†follow his “I’m sorry” with “but” to explain that he had good reason for being provoked. An true¬†apology looks like this,

I’m sorry THAT I offended you. I shouldn’t have said it. Please forgive me.

Practice using that formula next time. You’ll see just how difficult it is, but I think that’s the type of humility that our Lord would have us exemplify.


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