December 21, 2012

Pardon me ?!?

I spent my 5th grade lunch hours sitting at a table in a primary/grade one classroom. I was a lunch helper. I loved it! I was able to spend time with kids, I got to zip zippers and button buttons, I helped kids count by twos and tie their shoes, but there was one thing I didn't like: the forced apology. I still remember standing my the coat rack and watching the teacher force a child to apologize when he clearly didn't do what he was accused of doing, and he didn't even understand why he had to apologize. Eleven years later, and I am in the tiny shoes of that child, only there is no teacher forcing me to apologize.

Awhile ago I had this question asked to me, but to this day I haven't been able to come up with a solid answer. Should you apologize when a) you are not truly sorry, and b) when you believe with all your heart that you did nothing wrong?

Well I wrestled with this for a long time. At first I thought "of course! always apologize for everything!" This solution is a bit of a lie, and is selfish in a way, because it is only used to smooth over a conflict and to make life easier.
Then I thought about apologizing for the effect the incident had on the person, but that seems like a cop out, and insincere, even if you are sorry for the trouble their misunderstanding caused them.
Then there is the option to discuss the incident with the person, and not apologize, but if the other person is really seeking an apology this may not be the greatest option.

So sadly, there is no where in the bible that says " thou shalt do this if one is expected to apologize but is not in the wrong," there is however, a verse in the Psalms where David talks about having to "give back" something to someone that wasn't theirs in the beginning. It reads, "I am forced to pay back what I did not steal." Psalm 69:4

What would happen if the situation was reversed? How would I want to be treated? Would I want a heartless apology? I think I would want a conversation with the person to see why they did what they did and to have a chance to explain why I thought it was wring and how I was hurt. I would want to set some guidelines for the future so that a repeat would be less likely to happen. This being said, I would expect me to be the one to initiate the conversation, as the other person may not even realize I'm hurt. I wouldn't sit around being bitter and wait for an apology, I would be active and allow a lot of communication.

I don't want to lie, but I don't want to ignore my instinct to resolve conflict. I want to grow through this situation, and I want the other party to as well. So I ask you the question what would you do? and more importantly, what would Jesus want me to do?

1 comment:

  1. Wise questions that will take some thought, Annie.