How to Use the Right Apology

When a woman is hurting, she often needs to hear an apology. But if that apology isn’t part of her apology language, it may fall flat.

Apology Langs bookAccording to Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas in their book, “The Five Languages of Apology,” just saying, “I’m sorry” doesn’t always meet the need.

So what are the Languages of Apology?

Expressing Regret: This is when the person who has committed the wrong is willing to say, “I’m sorry.” But it must be a genuine expression of regret and not just a flippant “I apologize.”

Accepting Responsibility: When someone says, “I did wrong, and this is my fault,” then they are accepting responsibility. But when they make excuses for their wrong-doing, the apology falls flat.

Making Restitution: Charles Colson built his Prison Fellowship Ministry on the idea of making restitution. He believed that lawbreakers should pay back what they stole and make up for their wrongs. The person who seeks to make restitution expresses a genuine desire for apology.

Genuine Repentance: True and genuine repentance is a complete turnaround in action and attitude. It is not a flippant, “Well, I’m sorry I messed up, but I really can’t help it and I’ll probably do it again.” Women need to see change happen in order to believe an apology.

Requesting Forgiveness: Again, this request must be genuine in order to be a true apology language. The statement “Will you forgive me?” when coupled with genuine repentance or restitution carries much more weight than the attitude of “I expect you to forgive me.”

Why are the languages of apology so important? Because forgiveness and change begin with a genuine apology.

When women have been hurt, they know they should forgive. But without the proper apology language, it is difficult to move forward into forgiveness, compassion and transformation.

Learning to use the right apology language is important for all of us, because at some point – we all need to be forgiven.

2014 GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women