An Apology’s Role in Offense
It is noble to want to not offend anyone…especially in marriage. Many people have avoided arguments, not spoken their mind, and dodged awkward conversations for the fear of offending their spouse. However, the reality is that offense is bound to happen at least once in your lifetime…and if you are married at least once there too. Although the goal is not to intentionally offend anyone, the key is to be discerning and observant to when offense has occurred and quickly make haste to rectify the situation.
So, can there be reconciliation and restoration after offense? Yes, but the matter lies solely on the two persons involved in the offense. Of course there are different levels to when and how the reconciliation can occur in a marriage, but it can all begin with a sincere, heartfelt apology. A simple “I’M SORRY” can spell out safety, growth, and love in your relationship and prevent an offense from turning into a crippling injury.
So, here are the seven components of An Apology’s Role in Offense:
I – Introspective – It is saying “I own my wrong; I made a mistake or misstep in what I said or how I handled the situation.” This introspective look builds character. It forces you to look inside your ego and pride and take ownership of your offense and how it affects your spouse.
M – Movement – It moves the situation forward to a place where correction and discussion can be had. An apology mellows the person that you’ve hurt and offended. Prov. 15:1 says that a soft answer turns away wrath. By apologizing, you give your loved one an opportunity to calm themselves so that the conflict won’t continue and a resolution can begin to be reached.
S – Spoken – An apology must be spoken. It opens up the lines of communication and it serves as an act of humility and acquiescence. Confession is not silent…It is one thing to know you are wrong, but it is quite another to verbalize it. The spoken word of the apology releases both parties from bondage. James 5:16 says to confess your faults to one another.
O – Original – It has to be original, genuine, and authentic; it must be from the heart! Authenticity can be discerned and you will create even more tension with an unoriginal apology. Don’t make your apology lukewarm. God says that he spews the lukewarm out of his mouth (Rev.3:16) and so shall a lukewarm apology be rejected.
R – Relevant & Responsive – Make sure your apology is relevant and responsive to the issue(s) that caused the offense. Because of pride, you must be careful not to apology for something that wasn’t the issue. An apology that does not address the issue renders it irrelevant and meaningless.
R – Reasonable – An apology should be given in a reasonable manner in a reasonable amount of time. Once you are aware of how your action offended your loved one, then apologize for offending them and seek to understand why they were offended. The apology should provide comfort and solace to “Make for peace and mutual up building” (Romans 14:19).
Y – Yield – An apology should show that you yielded to the bigger picture, correcting an errant action, regardless of being right. There are situations where the offender may actually be justified for their actions. What was said or done was actually correct, but the result was offense. If your action was to correct not condemn, then an apology for the offense will help correct it, assist in extinguishing the emotion of the situation, and help usher in corrective communication because we never want our “good to be evil spoken of” (Romans 14:16).
Remember, apologizing is the first step to reconciliation. It opens your spouse up for further discussion about the issue that caused the offense. An apology does not resolve it, but is a wonderful start. An apology does not mean that the offense won’t be done again, nor does it mean you are automatically forgiven. An apology is, however, a step in the right direction and a sign that the journey towards forgiveness has begun. So apologize…and mean it!