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.