Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Apologize to One Another or Confess Your Faults One to Another?

The question came up, “should you apologize to one another?” Someone said, “The word apologize is not in the Bible.” Webster dictionary defines the word apology as, “an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret a public apology.” The Greek word apologia means “to defend oneself against a charge of doing wrong.” The word apologia is actually used 17 times in the Bible, as a noun and as a verb and every time it is translated either defense or vindication, never to say “I’m sorry.” Often times when people “apologize” they rationalize and justify themselves, while they seek to put an end to the confrontation. They say “I’m sorry, but you hurt me” or “I only did it because you…”

The biblical model for true apology is for the wrongdoer to express sorrow, confess the fault, repent, and then ask for forgiveness. Whether or not forgiveness is received, the offender needs to change their behavior! My father used to tell us “If you are really sorry you’ll change your ways!” If there is not the admission of any real wrong doing, an apology can lack authenticity! In Numbers 5:7 we read of the offender not only confessing the wrong, but making things right by restitution and even paying penalty of one-fifth (20%) of the damage so that the wrong actually costs something. The acknowledgement of wrong doing frees us from the offense and shifts the responsibility to the offended to forgive. It then rests on the person offended to do what God expects of him or her. Forgiveness is a choice we make to cancel the debt, never bringing the matter up again to the offender. So while the word apology is in the Bible, it would be best to confess our faults one to another, doing all that we can to make things right!

As Christians, we must seek peace and pursue it (Rom. 12:18, 14:19, 1 Pet. 3:11) and be willing to confess our sins and forgive one another so that we may “endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” The standard for forgiving one another is set very high, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” 

It has often been said that we are never more like God than when we forgive!

Tim Hadley Sr.

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