Tag Archives: Character

Apologies


"True remorse is never just a regret over consequence; it is a regret over motive."
Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

All too often these days, we hear that a person has demanded an apology from another person. It happens on all sides of the political aisle, and in general, in all areas of our lives.

There is a question that has not been asked of this new fad of apology seekers.

What happens if the person who has the demand put on them is not truly sorry, but just gives an apology because one was demanded? Does that make the situation right? Does that truly make you feel better?

As with many things in today’s society, authentic apologies are rare. It is a character trait that seems to have been lost in this new and improved "enlightened" society we have created with the onset of political correctness. All too often, when we hear someone apologizing, it is not an apology for their actions, but instead, an apology that they were caught. The sincerity of their heart in the apology is missing.

When my children get into squabbles, I do not "demand" they apologize to the offended sibling. Nor do I tell them to tell someone they are sorry. Instead, I talk to them about their actions; I ask them questions about whether or not their actions were right or wrong; I ask them how they think the offended person feels about what happened; and then finally, I ask them how it makes them feel personally to know they were the cause of the other person’s feelings being hurt. 

"A stiff apology is a second insult…The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt."
Gilbert K. Chesterton

I do not want empty words, when I am given an apology. If it is not felt from the heart, I would rather not have it. If it is a situation where the person is more sorry they got caught than they are their actions, an apology means absolutely nothing. I want to teach my children this concept. If you are not sorry for your actions, do not give the apology. Yes, there are still consequences for not being sorry. Proverbs 16:18 says it plainly:

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."

An apology is an effort to "make things right."

The official Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of an apology is:

an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret

 There is a qualifier right there in the definition. "…accompanied by an expression of regret."

In researching this article, I found an excellent website: Perfect Apology. From this website, on the "Regret and Remorse" section, it says:  

We’ll begin here by describing important distinctions between mistakes and actions that elicit feelings of regret and those that expose stronger feelings of remorse.  

Regret is a rational, intelligent and, on occasion, emotional reaction to some unexpected, unintended and often costly consequence of some event or action.

Remorse, on the other hand, takes on a bitter, deeper form that elicits much stronger personal and emotional reactions to personal guilt, societal shame, humiliation, resentment and often anger.

There is a noticeable difference in regret and remorse, however, they are both an emotional reaction. If there is no emotion- there is no sincerity. Without sincerity, an apology means nothing.

If you do not truly regret your actions, you should not apologize. Your pride and haughty spirit will bring you very painful consequences, but lying about being sorry for your actions just heaps more bad consequences on you. If you are not truly interested in making things right, but instead still believe that you are right, and you are simply seeking to appease the other person, your words mean nothing.

"It takes a great deal of character strength to apologize quickly out of one’s heart rather than out of pity. A person must possess himself and have a deep sense of security in fundamental principles and valuesin order to genuinely apologize."
Stephan Covey

There are great rewards for having a heart of humility, and acknowledging when you are wrong, and truly seeking to make things right with the person or people you have wronged.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16

There is healing with an apology from the heart- a true apology. It is a healing of the relationship and circumstances of the offense to begin with. In many situations, there are other situations that are healed as a result of an apology.

Oftentimes, those who demand an apology fail to take a look in their own backyard.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

We all have faults. However, if we focus on the faults of others, demanding that they owe us an apology, we must then look at how we have wronged other people and apologize to them. It is wrong to demand something of someone when you are not willing to do the same for those you have offended.

The true test of character comes from your actions in the future. If you apologize for something, but continue to do the same thing, you have clearly shown your apology was just empty words. 

"Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past."
Tryon Edwards
 

__________
Sources:

Merriam-Webster.com 
PerfectApology.com
 

A Come To Jesus Meeting For Christian Business Owners

If you don’t know what a “come to Jesus meeting” is, the “official definition” from the urbandictionary is:

Getting called on the carpet, dressed down, or otherwise chewed out in a severe manner. Usually used in conjunction with “meetin'” (meeting)

A meeting where someone close to you (e.g. friend, family, etc.) are confronted over behavior that’s causing consternation that’s negatively effecting your relationship.

It’s high time for a “come to Jesus meetin” with Christian business owners. You are being called on the carpet, dressed down, and chewed out in a severe manner because your behavior is causing consternation that is negatively effecting your relationship with the world.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? That’s how any “come to Jesus meetin'” starts- at the beginning.

If you claim to be a Christian, that means you identify yourself with the teachings of Jesus Christ- correct?

Where do we get the teachings of Jesus Christ? From The Bible, correct? Yes. So, we will reference Bible Scripture to show the importance of how your behavior reflects Jesus Christ to the rest of the world.

It is very unfortunate that we have to have this meeting, but as is the case with any uncomfortable situation, there comes a point in time where it just cannot be swept under the rug any longer.

When you think about what your character, how do you think people would describe you? This question is for everyone- Christians, and non-Christians alike.

Since this “come to Jesus meetin’ ” is for those who say they are Christ followers, we will focus on those folks for now. We will address non-Christians in another meeting.

For any person, your character is what defines you. If you identify yourself as a Christian, your life should reflect the ways- the character- of Christ.

In defining what the character of Christ is, and therefore, what the character of Christians should be, one word says it all: Integrity.

Integrity is not simply being honest and trustworthy; it is much more than that. The synonyms that are listed for “integrity” are:

candor, forthrightness, goodness, honesty, incorruptibility, principled, purity, righteousness, sincerity, straightforward, virtue

There is honor in living a life of integrity.

In studying the Bible, we see that God’s Word tells us a lot about having- and reflecting- integrity.

    1. Integrity means treating people fairly and honestly. (Leviticus 19:35-36, Deut 25:15, Proverbs 16:11-13)
    2. Integrity is giving your word and keeping it. (Exodus 8:28-32)
    3. Integrity will protect you. In Psalm 25, David prays that integrity and uprightness will protect him. How can it? (Psalm 25:21, Proverbs 2:7-8, 10:9, 11:3, 13:6)
    4. Integrity is more valuable than riches. (Proverbs 28:6)
    5. The Lord will test and judge your integrity. (1 Chronicles 29:17, Psalm 7:8)
    6. The Lord hates lies and lack of integrity. (Zechariah 8:16-17)
    7. It may be difficult to maintain your integrity. (Job 2:3, 2:9, Proverbs 29:10)
    8. Your character can be corrupted by bad company. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
    9. Integrity will be rewarded. (1 Kings 9:4-5, Nehemiah 7:2, Psalm 41:11-12)
    10. Your integrity should set an example. (Titus 2:7)

Now that we have the basics outlined, let’s move on to the next step. Christian business owners.

If you own a business, and you identify yourself as a Christ follower, your business life, business decisions, business practices, the way you treat your employees, the way you treat your customers- all aspects of not only your personal life, but your business life as well, should reflect integrity.

While integrity is something that should be expected from anyone who owns a business, it’s common knowledge that the business world is a very corrupt and cut-throat  environment. For a Christian in the business world, we should be able to expect that their beliefs would dictate their business practices would reflect integrity. The very fact that we have to have this “come to Jesus meetin’ ” means that is not the case. There is definitely a problem that has to be addressed. We can no longer take for granted what should be common practice. It’s time to lay everything out on the table.

These things should be obvious to anyone- Christians and non-Christians alike- but just like those warning labels that say

“Remove occupants from the stroller before folding it.”

There’s a reason why those warnings are there!

You can find a personal example here of how some things should be obvious in business, but that’s not always the case.  This personal example is, in fact, what has precipitated this “come to Jesus meetin’ ” you are attending.

One of the most important choices you must make when you go into business is the name of the business. As a business owner who identifies yourself as a Christ follower, this decision  is even more important if you choose to link your business identity with your personal identity as a Christian.

If you choose a name such as “Heavenly Homes”, “Guardian Angels Security, or  “Integrity Building and Supply”, you need to keep in mind that your business practices will now be judged by more than just your business practices. You have now set the expectation that you are a good, honest, incorrupt, principled, pure, righteous, sincere, straightforward and virtuous business.

It becomes even more important with a name that brings to mind good, honest and forthright actions that you run your business in a way that reflects goodness, honesty and forthrightness. If you do not, you will in fact reflect the opposite: wickedness, dishonesty and deception.

Everything in life is a choice. Every single choice we make has a consequence– good, bad or indifferent. It’s a chain reaction.

Are you and your business practices reflecting the identity you claim?

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Sources:

Thesaurus.com
UrbanDictionary.com #1
UrbanDictionary.com #2 
Bible Study on Integrity