At what point did we lose our ability to say sorry when we mess up, act like a jerk, make mistakes, or hurt those we love?
More curiously, at what point did we find ourselves being the one to say sorry when we’ve been the one who was wounded?
I had that experience recently….
I was trying to explain to someone why their actions had upset me, and all I got in response was a matter-of-fact “okay” and an undertone of, perhaps, resentment, or anger, or disinterest (or something else entirely) at being challenged.
And I came so very close to apologising for upsetting them.
Now, I could easily make this about me and my thin skin.
But I got to thinking that, somehow, we seem to be in a historical moment when the supposedly more honourable, principled or acceptable thing to do is to NOT admit when we’re wrong.
You see it in the media and in politics.
You see it all over Twitter and Facebook.
And I’m just as guilty of this as anyone.
And yet, for Christian leaders, saying sorry is one of the most powerful and honouring ways in which we demonstrate integrity and humility and, indeed, earn (or win back) the trust of those we lead, whether they be in the office or in the home.
All of us screw up… some of us (i.e., me) more often than others.
The more pressing issue is what we do when we realise that we’ve screwed up.
Perhaps the first step should be, as Harvey Fierstein so brilliantly puts it, to “always admit when you’re wrong. You’ll save thousands in therapy… and a few friendships too.”