Perhaps this has happened to you. Enter work to a clear schedule with hope to ease through the day—an uncommon luxury. Then, in the midst of juggling three tasks, a call comes through requiring both recall and conscious thinking ability (a combination I find frustrating when the cognitive space is maxed).
You try to be polite, but after the call’s finished you have the opportunity to reflect; it wasn’t good. There was little grace in the exchange from you to them.
At least some sense of wisdom has caused you to promise to call them back.
Apology – Language of the Second Chance
The follow-up call, to confirm details, is a great excuse to smooth any degree of ruffled feathers or false perception of what you’re really about. At the tail end of the call you don’t excuse your behaviour on the earlier call so much as you own it.
The apology is as quick and forthright as it’s genuine, so it’s therefore believed and integrity’s intact. Seems they understand.
On a par with healing miracles, this is a miracle too, for the facts are in and they stand up; the relationship looks to be resurrected—or it’s certainly not destined for the scrapheap yet. Indeed, to surmount such a small challenge fortifies it for bigger ones.
Forgiveness in the World
Allowance can be made for Christians’ thinking that forgiveness is an exclusive concept saved for them; for Christian-only interactions.
Forgiving earlier indiscretions because there’s an admitted reason—so long as that reason is credible to them—makes sense for the most part. What’s really being said is, “For the way I treated you, I don’t blame you if you got upset—I would have too.” It also says, “I was in the wrong, not you.” Or try this: “I’ll do better from now on if you can forgive me.” (It’s funny though; forgiveness rarely needs to be asked for in the secular world. Other words and means get us there.)
Those ideas above are compelling statements for redeeming ourselves.
Apology affords the grace of the second chance for us, and it facilitates something special for them too; it’s healing at a personal level and it’s healing for the hesitant, broken rapport—between both parties.
Healing Long and Lost – Waiting to Be Re-Discovered
The foregoing is astoundingly simple, yet for want of practice some find it hard. Whether it’s pride or a lack of know-how or confidence is irrelevant, this art of instantaneous relational healing stands within reach of everyone.
All it takes is a grasp on truth and the self-held value of fairness—then a pinch of courage.
Blessed is the person who’s at home owning their mistakes; apologising to the satisfaction of the majority, not bothered for the unpleasable minority. Best of all, the person at home in apology redeems the false impression, for we’re all nice people when the evil within is purged by the light of humility.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.