It’s sad, so sad (so sad)
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad (so sad)
Why can’t we talk it over?
Oh it seems to me,
That sorry seems to be the hardest word.

Elton John & Bernie Taupin

Why does ‘sorry’ seem to be the hardest word? After a heated disagreement with someone, are the words ‘I’m sorry’ our immediate response? Or are we so busy building our case that we no longer listen to the other party?

If only we would listen with the same passion we feel about being heard…

Harriet Lerner, Ph. D.

Consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.

Our Lord Jesus in Luke 8:18 (NIV)

Saying “I’m sorry” may not be so difficult for some people, but adding caveats, such as “I’m sorry but …”, “I’m sorry if you felt …”, “I’m sorry mistakes were made, however….” are called ifpologies, fauxpologies and non-apology apologies.

Offering a heartfelt apology can de-escalate a situation. Acknowledging our sin, or wrong doing, and taking responsibility for our actions/speech without making excuses, blaming the other person or muddying the waters, demonstrates maturity and compassion. A great example of such a heartfelt and mature apology is seen in the parable of the prodigal son. After receiving his inheritance early, a young man takes off to a distant country and squanders his money. He finds himself in dire circumstances and finally decides he should go back to his father. However, before returning to his home, he is mindful to have an apology ready to give to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:11-31 NIV). He does not make excuses for his behaviour and is humbled and willing to join his father’s household as a lowly servant. His father, however, is so overjoyed to have him back that he holds a special feast in celebration, giving him the best robe, putting a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

A sincere and simple “I’m sorry for…” shows that we have listened carefully and thoughtfully to the person we offended and provides an opportunity for a fresh start. Jesus and his Father provide us with opportunities to say ‘I’m sorry’ to them anytime through prayer. God says he will blot out our sins and iniquities if we repent and ask to be forgiven with a sincere heart – thus providing us with a fresh start in our relationship with Him and his son Jesus every day.

So lets make ‘sorry’ the simplest word!

I’m glad, so glad (so glad)
That this sad, sad situation
Isn’t getting more and more absurd
I’m glad, so glad
That we can talk this over
Oh, it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the simplest word.

CC
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