The Five Languages of Apology

By Gary Chapman & Jennifer Thomas

A REVIEW OF CHAPTER 9:

LEARNING TO FORGIVE

Here we move to accepting apologies.

It is established that the need for forgiveness always begins with an offense.

One Professor Robert Enright,
pioneering forgiveness research, sees forgiveness as a moral issue & defines Forgiveness as a “response to an injustice (a moral wrong),” and “turning to the ‘good’ in the face of wrongdoing.”

If no offense, then forgiveness is absent.

Apologies all have same two goals: 1) offender be forgiven
2) relationship be reconciled

Forgiveness is still a choice. You & I can choose to forgive or not.
Offense destroys the
tranquility of the relationship. There’s hurt, anger, disappointment, disbelief, betrayal & rejection.

Your sense of justice has been violated.

Offense would sit as an emotional barrier between two people. Often the situation gets compounded by response, especially when show of disrespect is reciprocated.

People are all imperfect & sometimes fail to treat each other with love, dignity & respect. Apologies and forgiveness are thus essential elements to healthy relationships.

First is apology is unimportant. Apologies are important. An apology reaches out for
forgiveness.

The art of forgiving

Three Hebrew words & four Greek words translated into ‘forgive’ in English. They’re synonyms with varying shades of
meaning. Key ideas are “to cover; to take away; to pardon; and to be gracious to.”

If you’re the offended party, forgiveness means that you will not seek revenge, that you will not demand justice, that you will not let the offense stand between & anyone or anything.

Forgiveness results in reconciliation.

The Forgiveness Cycle

An apology is an important part of the forgiveness cycle. An offense is committed; an apology is made; and forgiveness is given.

Here the author goes a biblical journey, which I will spare you most it but he concludes that the divine model is a wise and prudent model for making an apology in today’s world because it has two essential elements:

(1) confession and repentance on the part of the offender

(2) forgiveness on the part of the one sinned against.

To forgive opens the door to reconciliation. Not to forgive leads to further deterioration of the relationship.

Jesus declared to His followers, “Do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Since most of us would like to have forgiveness when we fail. Therefore, we are encouraged to extend
forgiveness to those who offend us. The ideal scenario is that when we offend others, we take the initiative to apologize.

If the person apologizes, then you forgive. There is to be no limit to our forgiveness so long as the offender returns to apologize.

What if the offender refuses to apologize—even when confronted with his/her wrong behavior? We are to approach the person a second time, telling them of the offense & giving them opportunity to apologize.

Moral failures always stand as a barrier that can be removed only by apologizing and forgiveness.
Therefore, if a person refuses to apologize for a moral failure after being confronted several times, we are to release the person who has sinned against us to God, letting God take care of the person rather than insisting.

THE DANGER OF FORGIVING TOO EASILY
Since childhood loads of people learned to forgive quickly & freely. In so doing, we may end
up encouraging destructive behavior.

Earlier it was indicated that there are two common responses to an apology:forgive or not to forgive.

But in reality, there is a third possible response: Sometimes we have been hurt so deeply or so often that we cannot bring
ourselves emotionally, spiritually, or physically to the point of genuinely extending forgiveness. We need time for inner healing, lor the restoration of emotional balance, or sometimes physical health that will give us the capacity to forgive.

Simply put, the 3rd option is to wait.

This brings us to the issue of rebuilding trust. Forgiveness and trust are not to be equated because forgiveness is a decision, it can be extended immediately when one perceives he has heard a sincere apology.

However, trust is not a decision —it is rather an emotion . Trust is that gut-level confidence that you will do what you say you will do.

COMPLETING THE CYCLE

Forgiveness holds the power to give renewed life to the relationship. Without forgiveness, relationships die. With forgiveness, relationships have the potential for becoming vibrant and enriching the lives of the people involved.

WHAT FORGIVENESS CAN’T DO

Forgiveness does not remove all the results of failure.

For example, If a man is given to fits of anger and strikes out at his wife, hitting her on the chin and breaking her jaw, he may sincerely confess and she may genuinely forgive. But her jaw is still broken and may cause her difficulty for years to come.

It is one of the fundamental realities of life: When we commit actions or speak words that are detrimental to another, the consequences stay on.

The Chapter ends with tips on Statements of forgiveness:

– I am deeply hurt by what you said.

– I think you realize that.

– I appreciate your apology, because without it, I don’t think I could forgive you. But because I think you are sincere, I want you to know that I forgive you.

– What can I say? I’m touched by your apology. I value our relationship greatly. Therefore, I’m choosing to forgive you.

– I didn’t know if I would ever be able to say this sincerely. I was devastated by what you did. I would never have imagined you capable of doing such a thing. But I love you, and I choose to believe that your apology is sincere. So I am offering you my forgiveness.

– Your work error has cost me both time and money. I want to forgive you for causing this problem. Yes, I believe that with your correction plan in place, I can forgive you.

– I know how hard it is for you to swallow your pride and say, “I was wrong.” You’ve grown in my eyes, and I do forgive you.

Learning to Forgive
The Five Languages of Apology

1. EXPRESSING REGRET – “I am sorry.”

2. ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY – “I was wrong.”

3. MAKING RESTITUTION – “What can I do to make it right?”

4. GENUINELY REPENTING – “Try not to do that again.”

5. REQUESTING FORGIVENESS – “Will you please forgive me?”