Culture, Main, Opinion, z294
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Art of Apology

When do you apologize?

Some people never seem to be sorry about anything they do or say. Others seem to start every conversation with I’m sorry but…

There must be rules about apologizing. My granddaughter tells me there are rules to cancelling people. I only found this out because I jokingly cancel her about five times a week. Now I know there are rules to cancelling, I can’t just willy-nilly do it.

Sometimes I don’t like rules.

Normally, I am quick to apologize when I hurt someone or crossed a line into someone’s boundaries. And most of us do apologize when we believe we have done something wrong. One of the problems with this is that sometimes, many times these days, it seems, we don’t know we have done anything wrong, or we don’t believe we need to apologize.

The times in which we don’t know we are in the wrong may include saying things that we used to be able to say but now are censored. Examples of these are when an older person mentions skin color or ethnicity in their description of somebody. The new rules downplay the differences between people and the old rules used these differences to distinguish us.

Another example is when we do not know what offends the other person. Perhaps we say we don’t like a sports team and that is their favorite team. Or we say something negative about a third person not knowing that person is their child.

When we are made aware of our offense we have two choices. We can apologize or we can simply shrug our shoulders. Here is a rule to help you know what to do in these situations.

If the offense is personal, apologize quickly and sincerely. In other words, if you have offended the person you are with, you need to be sorry. This is not about differences in how we interpret culture or other differences.  This time it is about us saying or doing something that hurt another person.

If the offense is more a matter of a difference of opinion, the only need to apologize is if you stated your opinion in a derogatory or aggressive manner. In this case you are not apologizing for disagreeing but for how you disagreed.

We live in a hyper sensitive time in which people are easily offended. Too many times I heard people being bullied into saying sorry for merely a difference of opinion. You are entitled to your views on politics, religion, and culture. If you apologize for your views, you are saying your views are less important than others. While this might give some peace, it is not healthy for either of you.

An apologize is not meant to make you weaker or less significant. It is to heal a hurt in a relationship. Differences of opinion and equality in how we view one another are cornerstones in healthy relationships. This is crucial especially in this time of cancelling others who disagree with us. Don’t cancel; connect.

There is also fake offence or misplaced offence.

This is when the person is offended on behalf of others or is more angry than offended.

For example, someone picketing in favour of stronger restrictions and more lockdowns may be fearful and angry. When someone is in this state, there is a certain thing that happens that makes it impossible for them to hear other opinions. This is true of extremism on both sides.

When they demand an apology, what they really want is an acknowledgement that they are right. An apology to either side is seen as an open door for an argument about why they are right, and you are wrong. This is difference of opinion on hyper speed.

Misplaced offence also occurs when the person with whom you are talking is offended for something that happened to a third group of people not related in any way to them.

Someone may say I am offended by your race because they killed the other races in another area of the world a long-time age. While it is normal to be saddened by such things, their offence isn’t offence, but disgust. Because of the times in which we live, people are actually apologizing for the way God made them. White people do not have to apologize for being born white any more than Indigenous people have to apologize for being born Indigenous

Apologize when you are in the wrong personally, but not because you disagree on issues. Don’t seek apologies unless you are personally offended. And love one another.


Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. His book, The Travelers, is available at and

This entry was posted in: Culture, Main, Opinion, z294
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I am a writer, public speaker, and counsellor. I write stories about spiritual warfare and how God transforms us through faith, trust, and struggles.

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