How to Apologize (the right way)


You did it.  You’ve hurt someone.  The guilt of the situation is weighing down on you but you don’t know what to do.  You know you need to confess and apologize but it’s awkward and you don’t know how.  So you sweat.  You may end up doing nothing and the tension just increases over time.


Here are the Seven A’s of Confession, taken from Peacemaking Principles, created by Peacemaker Ministries.  They are based on the methods God gave to us in Romans 12:18, Matthew 7:3-5, 1 John 1:8-9, Proverbs 28:13.  Take the time to read those because they make all the sense in the world and they really do help!

      1. ADDRESS everyone involved

      2. AVOID if, but, and maybe

      3. ADMIT specifically

      4. ACKNOWLEDGE the hurt

      5. ACCEPT the consequences

      6. ALTER your behavior

      7. ASK for forgiveness

Just a word about each one.

ADDRESS everyone involved – You may need to apologize to more than just one person.  How many have been affected by what you did?

AVOID if, but and maybe – When you say,

“I’m sorry IF…..” or

“I’m sorry BUT…” or

MAYBE I was wrong when……” –

NO!  you have just erased the apology.  If, but and maybe are called qualifiers in an apology and they negate the attempt to say you’re sorry.  Never ruin an apology with an excuse.

ADMIT what you did SPECIFICALLY.  Saying “I’m sorry for what I did” is too broad and simply insufficient.  You must be willing to own every piece of your offense.

ACKNOWLEDGE the hurt you caused someone.  How did you cause pain?  You might need to ask exactly how what you did caused pain.  There might be hurt you have no idea you caused, so it’s wise to simply ask the other person to help you by telling you this.

ACCEPT the consequences the injured party may feel are necessary.  Maybe you can’t be close friends anymore.  Maybe you will need to build trust again before the relationship can be fully restored.  Even when God forgives us, He always exacts consequences for our wrongdoing.,

ALTER your behavior.  What did you do to cause harm – STOP IT!

Don’t do that anymore!

ASK for forgiveness… this step is often left out of the whole ordeal… ask to be forgiven.  This is the bowtie that will put the ball in the other person’s court and will help them to move forward by forgiving you.

Will you forgive me?

Sometimes it helps to walk through these steps with someone before you confess it to the person(s) you have hurt.  Consult someone you trust and talk about it with them first.

Now go apologize.

What difference does Jesus make anyway?

Yes.  It hurts.

Currently, I’m looking at several dear friends in the midst of deep and troubling pain.  Two in particular.  One of those friends is a Christian with rock-solid faith and theology.  The other is not. 

So yesterday, after hearing about the deep pain of the non-Christian friend, I found myself deeply considering the subject of pain brought on by just being alive in this world.  Brokenness is EVERYWHERE.  And so I began to think… I run around with this lofty idealistic view of Jesus and how He really makes a difference in everything.  Do I really believe that?  And if I do, how exactly DOES Jesus make a difference?

So I made a list.

The good news.  Conversion means….

  1. Conversion to Christ means that God makes you into a whole new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Jesus told his religious leader, Nicodemus, it’s called being born again. (John 3:3).
  2. Conversion to Christ means you can see the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3).  This one I believe I may have misinterpreted for most of my life… I’ve always thought Jesus meant when I die, I get to “see” the “Kingdom of God”.  But what if Jesus was saying that prior to being born again, I was blind to everything in the Kingdom of God currently, historically and in the future?  What if he was telling Nicodemus, “you don’t understand because you don’t know ME?  You can’t see anything rightly unless you’re born again.”
  3. Conversion to Christ means you get a new mind and a new mindset (Romans 12:2).  I don’t think the way I used to think and testing (that horrible, nagging, daily grind of pain from living this life in a broken world) has a Godly way of transforming me out of the way I used to think and into thinking according to the will of God. 
  4. Conversion to Christ means I’ve been forgiven of my disobedience to God and I am no longer destined to condemnation.   And my mind, which used to be set on selfish ambitions is now set on things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-8).  Life-changing adjustment here, folks.
  5. Conversion to Christ means I’m not a slave to the power of disobedience to God anymore, but I’m free from the power of disobedience.  I don’t have to sin anymore, and Jesus has paid the price of my sin so that when God looks upon me he sees a precious child and heir of the King, not a wretched, evil child of wrath. (Galations 4:4-7, Romans 6:7-11, Ephesians 2:3)
  6. Conversion to Christ means I can get a grip mentally and emotionally on all the crap that happens to me.  Through Christ, I can handle it. (Phillipians 4:13) I can now make right decisions, no matter how much it hurts.
  7. Conversion to Christ means I have a whole new perspective because my nose isn’t pressed firmly and painfully into the tree bark anymore.  I can see the whole forest… I can get outside of my pain and suffering to see that, at worst, it’s “light and momentary affliction.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
  8. Conversion to Christ means I can withstand the pain and heartache of this world.  (Matthew 7:24-27).  Storms come and rage… the rain falls, the floods come and beat on our houses.. But those who are converted to Christ live in a house that will not fail.
  9. Conversion to Christ means I am spiritually alive and pleasing to God. (Ephesians 2:1-10). What can spiritually dead people do to please God?  NOTHING.


I could go on and on and on and on… this list is not and could never be exhaustive.  These are but drops in the bucket to all the Scriptures God has communicated to us about the benefits of genuine Christianity.  The benefits are supernaturally endless in their scope and time.

The bad news

Just as all the benefits of being converted to Christ are endlessly wonderful and beneficial, so the antithesis is true.  Being outside of Jesus’ love and forgiveness means you’re an orphan.  Lost. Worn out. Destitute. Hopeless. Helpless.  Independent. Alone. Fearful.  Guilty. Shameful. Prideful. Arrogant. Grievous.  Disobedient. Dishonorable. Confused. Spiritually dead. An enemy of God.

So what about you?

After all this, I think I’ve answered my own question. What difference does Jesus make? All the difference in the world.  

What about you?  Is this new information for you?  Are you weary of trying to handle the heavy load of life and its pain all by yourself?  Take heart, my friend.  You were NEVER created by God to carry the burden alone.  Please call me and let’s talk about how to turn your life over to the One who wants to show you the Kingdom of God.

Psalm 103:1-5


Psalm 103 –
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God by Jonathan Edwards

Long, long overdue in the Church today… the day this sermon was read aloud by Jonathan Edwards, on July 8, 1741 to his congregation in Enfield, Connecticut, it was received with electrifying results, with wails and cries.

Indeed, aren’t we in need of a movement of the Holy Spirit, with words of truth proclaimed so directly that the response would be wails and cries?

Have you sinned?

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9-10

 A person may have heard and assented to the gospel message, but until it brings him to acknowledge his sin, it has not taken root.
(ESV study notes)
Raider’s of the Lost Ark had a great quote in it… “The penitent man shall pass.”
The book of 1 John in the New Testament is a go-to resource for a summary of characteristics of genuine conversion to Christ and the new birth. Check it out!

Escape – Conflict tactic #1

As my last post discussed, all of us generally respond to conflict in one of three ways: By trying to 1. escape, 2. make peace, or 3. go on the attack.

Today, we’re going to discuss the first tactic: ESCAPE

People tend to use ESCAPE responses when they are more interested in avoiding unpleasant people or situations than in resolving differences. You attempt ESCAPE by:

1. DENIAL – One way to escape from a conflict is to pretend that a problem does not even exist. Another way is to refuse to do what should be done to resolve a conflict properly. These responses bring only temporary relief and usually make matters worse (see 1 Samuel 2:22-25).

2. FLIGHT – Another way to escape from a conflict is to run away. This may take the form of pulling away from a relationship, quitting a job, filing for divorce, or changing churches. Flight may be legitimate in extreme circumstances (see 1 Samuel 19:9-10), but in most cases it only postpones a proper solution to a problem.

3. SUICIDE – When people lose all hope of resolving conflict, they may seek to escape from the situation (or make a desperate cry for help) by attempting to take their own lives (see 1 Samuel 31:4). Suicide is never a right way to deal with conflict.

(Content adapted from “The Peacemaker” by Ken Sande).

Most of the time, unless serious danger is threatening you, ESCAPE is an unhealthy response. Re-read these short descriptions and see if any of these are true of you. What do you think? If you’d like to see what a healthy response to conflict looks like, stay tuned…

#makepeace #beapeacemaker #reconcile #stoprunning

Escape, Peace or Attack?

Everyone reacts to conflict in one of three main ways:

1. Escape – run, Forest, run. 🏃‍♂️ Or…

2. Make peace – let’s resolve this, I want peace. ✌️Or…

3. Attack – You can’t get away with that! I’m coming for you! 🥊

Within each of these three broad categories are more nuanced reactions, and I will spend the next several posts going through them. Some are healthy are some are not. If you’d like to consider looking at your behavior when it comes to conflict, hang with me for a few days. You may decide you’d like to change.