I apologize if …

I heard it again yesterday: The Non-Apology.

I call it a “non-apology” because it’s conditional, and places the responsibility on the sinned-against rather than the sinner. “I’m sorry if you were offended by that,” they say. “I’m sorry if you misunderstood me.”

But the non-apology misses out on the power of a real apology. A real apology brings about forgiveness and growth and reconciliation, while the non-apology merely glosses over the sin.

A real apology accepts full responsibility, doesn’t escape responsibility by giving “reasons” for the misbehavior, is specific, and is not conditional. An example: “I apologize that I snapped at you. It was wrong for me to disrespect you that way and I’ll try my best not to do that again. Please forgive me.”

Now that’s an apology I’d like to hear more often.

About Author

Ted Slater

Ted Slater is part webgeek and part wordsmith; he feels equally comfortable massaging code and editing prose. He gets plenty of opportunity to explore both interests as senior website developer with Liberty Alliance. Ted is a follower of Christ, husband to Ashleigh, and papa to Olivia and Ava and Savannah and Noah and Dorothy.

  • That non-apology is a way for the offender to shift the blame to the one who was offended.

    Another pet-peeve of mine is the non-apologies wherein offender says he is sorry for all the hurt he caused. That is apologizing for the consequences of the action, rather than the action that caused the consequences.