28 September 2003                                                         1                                                           The Power of an Apology



The Power of an Apology



1.  The Power of an Apology


·       Giving and receiving an apology – is a very powerful part of life.

·       We all mess up, say wrong things, do wrong deeds – end up badly hurting people around us.

·       An apology has the power to repair the harm, mend the relationship, sooth the wound, heal the broken heart.

·       The truth is, when we have done something wrong, we have done something wrong! No amount of 'sorrys' can ever undo the harmful actions we have committed in the past.

What's done is done!  However a sincere apology can undo the negative effects those actions bring.


Ex:          -  My Testimony

 -  Beverly Engel, family and child psychologist.  (Divorcing a Parent)



2.   Benefits of Apologizing to the Receiver


a)  Brings emotional healing.

b)  Disarms personal threat.

c)  Helps us move forward.

d)  Opens the door for forgiveness. (See that the wrongdoer is imperfect, fallible, human being).

e)  Effects Physical health.  James 5:16  “Confess sins to each other, pray for each other – that                                                                      you may be healed.”


3.   Benefits of giving an Apology


a)  Gets rid of guilt  1 John 1:9  “Confess sins – cleanse from all unrighteousness”.

b)  Humbles pride eg. “Prodigal Son”  - John 15

c)  Restores relationships.      Before -  Shy, awkward, ill at ease.

                                           After    -  Reconnect emotionally, vulnerable,

d)  Acts as a good deterrent (especially when in public – Nigeria).



4.   How to give a meaningful Apology


Bad example:  “Saul”   1 Samuel 15  'Test of obedience'.

                        “Amalekite”  =  Grandson of Esau (natural man)  Genesis 36:12  


                        v3. God's command “utterly destroy, spare them not”.

                        v9. Saul and the people spared Agag, the best of the animals, destroyed ”the vile”.

                      v13. “I have obeyed the Lord”.

                 v14,19. Confronted by the Prophet.   

           v15,20,21. Defensive, disassociate, blame shift, excuses, compensate, resist accountability

                 v19,23.  God's eyes:  disobedience. motive, greed.

                               Rebellion -  witchcraft – overthrowing God's authority.           

                          Stubbornness – idolatry - “self “ in place of God.

                     V20.  Self deception/Justifies   1 John 1:8  If we say we have no sin – we deceive                         ourselves - truth not in us – make God (or prophet) a lair.






28 September 2003                                                            2                                                         The power of an Apology




Consequences:  v26.  Reject God's words, Lord rejected from Leadership (entrustment, to fulfill                                    God's purpose).  

                           v35.   Grief, disappointment in heart of prophetic calling.


                          1 Samuel 16:14    “Holy Spirit left, tormenting spirit came”.

                          2  Samuel 1;8,10  “Small sin tolerated (enthroning 'self') destroyed him and 'took                                                         his crown'  ( Revelation 3:10) forfeited his reward.


                        V24,30.  Gate-way  -  fear of man  {   Proverbs 29:25  fear of man – snare .

                                                                               {   Galatians 1:10  man pleaser or God pleaser?

                                       'Worldly sorrow'  no real breaking, no restitution, 'Make me look good'.


                          2 Corinthians 7:10,11  “Godly sorrow” 

·      Based on conviction -  you have done wrong!

·      Broken and contrite heart.  Psalm 34:18

·      produces repentance leading to salvation eg. 'Prodigal Son' Luke 15

Compare 1 Samuel 15:30  &  Luke 15:19

·      Fruit – Carefulness, hatred of sin, fear of God, zeal.


5.   Never say sorry because .....


            a)  Someone made you do it.

            b)  It is what everybody expects of you.

            c)  Your apology will get you something you want.


                 It will - be meaningless and empty to the one offended because we communicate not                             just by words, but spirit to spirit.

                          -  add further injury to insult and show disrespect for the offended party.


            God tests the motive  - out of Relationship with Him?  Out of Love?


            Good example: 

            David (Psalm 51)       - after sin of adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah.

                                               - not just simple 'sorry'.  19 long verses.

                                               - sincere, truthful.  “Rend your heart, not your garments”  Joel 2:13 

                                               -  Acts 2:37  “pricked in their heart” - stake/spear in heart.


            A Meaningful Apology has 4 R's:


                        1)  Regret:

                             Relive your offenses through their feelings.  How did they feel when it                                         happened?  What was the consequences in their life?

                             Pain what you did/said  -  / or failed to do - ? I have hurt you.  Confess to the                               injustice and harm you have caused to the person you have offended.

                             Matthew 5:4 “mourn” - breaks up hardness of heart.











28 September 2003                                                           3                                              The Power of an Apology




                        2)  Responsibility:

                             Accept total responsibility for your grief causing words, actions or inaction.

                             Psalm 51:3,4        *   no excuses, 'I got angry because I was tired'.

                                                           *   no blame-shifting, 'you were wrong too!'.

                                                           *   no self-justification, 'but I have done this right'.

                                                           *   no pride, 'if I was wrong'

                                                           *   no flippant, 'I am sorry'.

                              Dig deeper  -   What was the underlying root, attitude behind this action?                                     Acknowledge that first.  “I was insensitive, disloyal, selfish, lustful, angry,                                          negligent.....”

                              Isaiah 6:1-5  “When pride goes and a revelation of God's glory comes, our true                          condition is exposed (we are delivered from human reasoning!) “.

                              Compare to Saul in Samuel15:12  (monument to self).


                        3)  Restitution:

                             “it's the putting right that counts!”

     willing to remedy the situation, repair the harm caused.

     Change of mind plus change of action/behavior.

                              You can't ever undo the past, but make a solemn promise to take positive                                  corrective action so that you will never repeat the negative behavior.


                              Eg  * Start ringing wife /mother when know will be late.

                                    * I missed it when you were growing up, start now as adults and make it up                                   with grandchildren.

                                    * I dented you car, but I arranged for repair.


                        4)  Restoration:

                             After  i)  Acknowledge hurt, pain.

                                      ii)  My sin.

                                     iii)  remedy

                              It makes room for restoration.  Think through whether a visit or phone call is                               appropriate and timing is right and ask “will you forgive me?”  God's healing                                      power can be released to restore relationship. 


                                   Forgiveness from God's   }  washes away wrong from the past and opens

                                   & person wronged            }  the door for friendship in the future


            If all 4 R's are not present, something is amiss.  The person feels short changed –                     spiritually, emotionally, mentally or financially.


Psalm 51.   v7.    blood of Jesus on sin – washing, cleansing.

                   v8.    emotional restoration.

                   v10.  clean heart, right spirit.

                   v11.  I want your Spirit, your presence around my life.


Ezekiel 36:26  “Take out strong heart – new heart, new Spirit 'cause you walk in my statues”.


Psalm 19:7-11 “What the word of God does, by them – servant warned, keeping of them – great                        reward!”


                   “Create in me a clean heart, renew a right Spirit within me”





28 September 2003                                                          4                                               The Power of an Apology




6.   Beverly Engel:


  June 1981. Wrote a very popular groundbreaking book, a hit on the best seller list:

            “Divorcing a Parent”.


            She knew the trauma of living with verbally abusive, hypercritical, manipulative parents.


     While growing up Beverly's mother constantly subject her to extreme physical and emotional abuse.

     Even as an adult  she was abused severely.  She was so mentally stressed that her physical health deteriorated.

     When she was 35 she snapped.  - Enough is Enough!  I never want to see my mom anymore in my life. And she walked out of her mothers life.

     3 years later she wrote a book – an overnight sensation that encouraged others with abusive parents to do the same.


            One day the phone rang.  The person on the other side said: “I'm sorry”. 

            Bev's mother – extremely proud and harsh woman. 

            Bev could tell she was truly sorry for the way she had treated her.


            To Beverly's surprise  -  She felt waves of relieve started to wash over her.

                                                -  Years of anger, resentment, fear started to drain away.

                                                -  The words “I'm sorry” began to wash away years of pain and                                                        bitterness.

                                                -  Never wanted to admit it – she had been waiting to hear those                                                       words all her life.  


                                       “The apology changed her life completely!”