Has anyone ever came to you to apologize for something and then adds a but? All those warm gooey feelings you were having six seconds ago are gone! Just like that. If a sorry has a but attached to it you know something smelly is coming.
A sorry has to be just that. A sorry. A humble, tail between the legs, sorry. It can’t bring along a justification companion. It must stand on it’s own and face the music.
Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the alter and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the alter. First go and be reconciled to them; Then come and offer your gift.”
If you’re about to add a but to your sorry, you probably aren’t really sorry.
I remember one time me and my son were playing laser tag at this fun center. The game was getting very intense and I was about to destroy all my opponents. (That’s not totally how my son remembers the story but it’s the truth.) My son and I were on a team, along with several others. There was this punk kid, maybe 13ish, on the other team. He had a fowl mouth and was a bit obnoxious. At one point he was right up on my son and my son, without thinking, smacked the kids gun away. I didn’t see this, so when I heard him yelling at my son,”Hey! You can’t do that!” I went to see what the problem was. The kid told me what my son had done and my son stood there denying it. I, of course, looked over at my sweet little baby (12 years old) with his twinkling blue eyes and said, “I’m sure he didn’t do that.” The young tyrant assured me he did and then we all moved on to world domination!!! After the game ended my son came to me and said, “Mom, I did it. I don’t know what happened but I just reacted and did it!” I was shocked, embarrassed and a teeny, tiny impressed. Don’t judge! I said teeny tiny but my son is very small for his age so any parent would be! I explained to my son that he had to apologize to the boy. But then I realized I really needed to apologize to him too. I didn’t believe him and I didn’t resolve it correctly.
Do you have any idea what it’s like to be humble to a little punk 13 year old boy??? Probably not because you guys are all nice civilized grown ups but let me tell you… It was so hard. I so desperately wanted to say, “I’m really sorry my son smacked your gun away BUT you were all up in his grill. Oh and I’m sorry I basically called you a liar BUT let’s face it kid, you probably do lie with that fowl mouth.” But then I realized I really was sorry. I felt bad for assuming my boy could do no wrong. This kid had been offended and he did deserve an apology. So, I walked my practically 40 self to the 13 year old boy and said, “I’m really sorry I didn’t believe you and I’m sorry my son smacked your gun.” I was kind of hoping that the kid would say something rude and disrespectful so that I could walk away with a little dignity and justification but instead the little hoodlum looked up at me and said, “Hey, no problem!”
So there you have it… Always apologize when you have done wrong. Even if you end up looking like a total lunatic who gets in fights with small children.
And keep your buts to yourself. That is not an apology!