I met a man in the church library who didn’t know any Scripture. All the adult Sunday school classes were studying Christian books or watching parenting videos, so this guy couldn’t get any Bible anywhere, and he was frustrated. So for nine months I read the Bible with him during Sunday school.
Then it came off the rails. Somebody asked me to fill in teaching a class for several weeks. Then we went on vacation for a couple weeks. When I returned, my friend didn’t show. I saw him the following week but he was in a hurry and he asked me to call.
Think I called? Hey, I’m tired at night. Get home late, eat dinner, talk as a family, and doze off.
I showed up on Sunday mornings for a while, but he didn’t. Now it’s three months later and I run into him in the hallway. Things are chilly. Gotta go. Later. And I’m dreaming up excuses and defenses. But the truth is, I was not a faithful friend, nor a good shepherd. I owe him an apology.
This ever happen to you? If so, here’s a tip on making apologies: Do it right. Don’t pull one of those lame political or celebrity apologies . . .
“Hey, if something I did bothered you I’m sorry you feel bad about it. Maybe you should get over it.”
Most people listen for signals that you mean your apology. According to Gary Chapman’s book on apologies, here are the five most common signals:
— Regret (I am sorry.)
— Responsibility (I was wrong.)
— Restitution (What can I do to make this right?)
— Repentance (I will try not to do that again.)
— Requesting Forgiveness (Please forgive me.)
Since I want to salvage this relationship, I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ll let you know how it goes.