7 Stages to a Great Apology

When we mess up, what do we do? Many people just like to act like nothing happened. Some people like to shift the blame to others. I want to give another thought. APOLOGIZE!!!

How in the world do I give a good apology? That is a question that has plagued mankind for thousands of years! Hang in there! There is an answer!

I am forever grateful to Rick Stein, Specialist of Alliance Peacemaking,

for his incredible patience in teaching and training me on the 7 A’s of confession from Peacemaker Ministries! Let me share with you the “7 A’s of confession” or what we might call the “7 Stages of a great apology”. I have had the great opportunity to put this into practice… a lot! I hope you learn from my mess ups!   

1.Address everyone involved

When we offend others it is very important to address everyone. We should not ask someone to represent us with others. Addressing everyone allows us to be able to show that we are remorseful and that we do care.

2.Avoid if, but, maybe

Have you ever heard something like… “I am sorry if you felt that way,” or “I am sorry but maybe you should not have…” or “I am sorry, however, maybe you should have behaved…”? Yeah, SAME! Those are not apologies! They don’t own anything! Avoiding words like “if, but and maybe” are necessary for clearly communicating an apology.  

3.Admit specifically

Nobody likes hemming and hawing! Nobody likes vagueness when it comes to an apology! Nobody likes feeble attempts at being sorry. When someone offers an apology without admitting to the specific issue at hand it does not feel like they are owning their part and consequently it does not feel like an apology.

4.Acknowledge the hurt

We got to get out of our own skin and look through someone else’s eyes and acknowledge the hurt that the person is feeling. We might ask, “how would I feel if someone did this to me”. Once we answer that question it is pretty safe to say that the person to whom we are apologizing to feels the same way!  Acknowledge the hurt.

5.Accept the consequences

Sometimes our actions have the consequence of not being trusted or hurt. That often is not fixed with an apology. It may take time to heal and consistency with a new behavior. They may get huffy or even reject our apology. That’s on them. We must be willing to accept the consequences.  

6.Alter our behavior

A real apology shows that a behavior (words or actions) need to be changed. The way to show that we mean our apology is that there is a behavior change. That a behavior will be altered.  

7.Ask for forgiveness

Finally, we should use our words and ask for forgiveness.

Prayerfully, consider these steps. Perhaps right relationships make us feel good because right relationships honor God!

Do you have other suggestions or ideas? Please feel free to share them!   


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