Marks of a Sincere Apology – Rob Ford

12 Nov

rob fordMayor of Toronoto, Rob Ford has been in the news for some time over his personal behavior, and questions over a video that reveals his use of cocaine.  At first he denied that the video existed, but after the police made an announcement that the video is real, he has made a full public apology.

Or somewhat of an apology?  I am not his judge, and I will leave that for you to decide.

Public apologizes are hysterical to watch, and all of them are bound to be picked apart in today’s world.  Remember Anthony Weiner?

Sometimes in our household, there are times when I apologize to my wife, but she rightly finds it lacking for some reason or another.  Rob Ford’s words have caused me to reflect on what are the essential ingredients of a sincere apology.  Sincerity is hard to fake.  It doesn’t mean that you have to cry, but it does require showing emotion (according to who you are).  So what are a few key aspects of saying, “I’m Sorry.”

 1.  Self-Initiated.

Were you forced to say sorry?  Did you wife, friend, have to confront the issue or did you?  A willful apology is much more effective at bringing healing.

2.  Acknowledge what you have done. 

Rather than a generic, “I’m sorry,” put into words what you have done.  I can just imagine going to my wife, and saying.  “I have made mistakes…”  I don’t think that it would impress her much.  She is more interested in me acknowledging what I did.  There is power in repeating and putting into words exactly what you did wrong.  We often want just to forget, but sometimes, great humility is found in reflecting on what we have done wrong.

3.  Acknowledge the Hurt you have caused. 

A complete apology shows that you have thought about the consequences of your actions, and who has to bear those consequences.  Not all consequences of your actions end with the apology, so it is important to acknowledge not just the present short-falling, but how it will continue to affect them.

4.  Take Responsibility. 

Sometimes, we say sorry, but add a statement about how the other person should feel responsible.  We offer an explanation of our actions by saying they are a result of another’s actions.  Statements like, “Well, you…” or “I thought,”  It is also important to clearly state the full extent of your actions.  Nothing is worse than an apology that only goes half-way, and then needs to go farther.

5.  A Desire to change

An apology is not complete unless there is a desire to change.  This doesn’t mean that you won’t fail again, but it does mean that there is a desire (and effort) in order to change behavior.  As the saying goes, “Talk is Cheap.”

I wish that I could say that I have arrived in this area of my life.  Each and every apology is a humbling experience.  I think that this is the core that makes it so difficult.  God warns of the danger of pride, and lists it as one of the deadly sins (Proverbs 6).

I love the psalmist illustration of a repentant heart when he says, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” (Psalm 32:5)

I am calling us as men, to face the fact that we are sinners.  We will do wrong.  When we fail, let us move towards repentance and forgiveness.

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