An effective apology goes beyond simply confessing wrongdoing; it also seeks mercy and forgiveness from its recipients.
King Saul disobeyed God and offered an incomplete apology (1 Samuel 15). To justify himself, he blamed circumstances or intent as reasons. But God refused his petty apology and expelled him from the kingdom.
1. Acknowledge Your Sin
As soon as you harm another in any way, be it physically, verbally, or through thought alone, it’s crucial that you acknowledge what happened and ask forgiveness from them and God. Doing this alone won’t do, so also remember it’s also essential that the people whom have been injured see this happen if possible.
Imagine this: After stealing pens from your workplace, as you walk home the Lord convicts your conscience of their inappropriate taking without permission. Your instinct may be to ignore His convictions and justify your actions by justifying them by asserting that there was plenty of pens already present at work.
At once, confess your sins to God and beg for His mercy (Psalm 32:5; 51:3). Doing this will cleanse your spirit, leaving you freer to forgive others in turn.
Once you have acknowledged your sin to those whom it has affected, offer an authentic apology. When speaking of what happened and its impact, be sure to explain why and how you sinned, as well as ways that you will avoid repeating these behaviors in future. Afterward, it’s up to them whether they forgive you; some may still feel angered or defensive and it may take time before trust is restored; so remain patient while praying that one day they may forgive. Pray that He gives them empathy and compassion (Proverbs 3:5-6). He will help strengthen relationships as He guides your steps.
2. Ask For Forgiveness
Before approaching someone who was wronged by your actions and asking them for forgiveness, it is wise to pray about it first. Doing this shows your sincerity and ensures that God blesses your apology.
Dependent upon the severity of your wrongdoing, people may or may not forgive you. It is essential that you show patience and don’t press them too hard; even though they may still feel hurt from your wrongdoings now, let them know you apologize nonetheless and express regret for any offenses that you committed against them.
Phrasing your request for forgiveness correctly is also key. Be sincere when speaking up and use words like, “I am so sorry for what I have done; please forgive me.” Moreover, use Scripture when making your plea. There are numerous verses in the Bible which talk about asking for forgiveness – find them online or in your Bible to incorporate into your prayer.
Don’t think forgiveness is something you can earn; rather, it is something God gives freely. Only He knows whether or not He’s willing to forgive your transgressions and it is important that we acknowledge this fact by seeking His mercy. Asking Him for pardon shows our humility as it shows that we acknowledge our wrongdoing while also reminding ourselves that others may be more humble.
Imagine you committed an act of deception toward your spouse, knowing it to be wrong but doing it anyway. While it would be easy to justify yourself with excuses like work or children being the culprits, such excuses would never provide adequate atonement for what happened.
3. Ask For Help
Relying on God for help is an integral component of Christian living. The Bible contains stories of people turning to Him in times of difficulty and strain; Psalm 55:22 instructs us to “cast all our care upon him, because He cares for us” (Psalm 55:22). God wants to be your source of strength and comfort – He created everything – including your night sky – He hears your cries, understands what you feel, and wants nothing more than to communicate directly with you – look up tonight to the stars imagining that the God who knows everything wants nothing more than communication – look up tonight at your night sky and imagine that He’s right there listening…
No matter what it is you need help with or just want a hug for, God is waiting for your call. How you ask Him matters just as much as what your request is: asking Him for a 20-step plan on how to repair a relationship will likely prove more challenging for Him than simply asking for an easy yes or no response.
4. Be Humbly Forgiven
It is essential that when making amends with God, that they do it in humility. God does not like prideful attitudes and according to scripture we should humble ourselves before Him so He may exalt us. Being humble allows you to realize just how dependent you are upon Him and others for support as well as acknowledging when sin has taken place in your life and need forgiveness from both parties involved.
Nothing could be worse than issuing a weak apology after having committed a grave wrong. A genuine apology must recognize how serious your offense was and address it directly, without using euphemisms or excuses to lessen its impact. For instance, if you cheated on someone, ask them for their forgiveness rather than asking forgiveness just “for calling someone names.”
Adopting an incomplete apology shows lack of humility, as if to say: “I only did what was wrong a little.” An authentic apology accepts full responsibility for what has occurred and apologizes accordingly.
Refusing to apologize when we wrong others is toxic for both parties involved and can have physical consequences as well. When we apologize and seek forgiveness for past mistakes, this not only brings relief but is a form of honoring the person wronged as it shows them we are followers of Christ who love each other like Jesus did – this is what He expects of us too!