[ Home | Eschatology | Bible Studies | Classics | Articles | Sermons | Apologetics | Search | F.A.Q. ]

Author Topic: When Should A Christian Apologize?  (Read 30692 times)

Shirley

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Gender: Female
  • The Spirit of Christ
When Should A Christian Apologize?
« on: July 29, 2009, 08:14:01 AM »
Since this has been the topic of conversation of late, I thought we might look at the biblical grounds for a Christian apology. Notice I said Christian apology, as I'm not talking about among unsaved people. I'm interested in the Christian community. And Please, if anyone wants to get personal, or direct this at any individual, I ask that you please don't participate in this discussion.

First, I'm sure we all agree that no one should apologize if they have not offended anyone. At least I think we all agree. But when is an apology Biblically required, or is it? That's what we'll start off with. I think it is in certain situations, but I am open to differing opinions.

Kenneth White

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 319
  • Gender: Male
  • Thinking Christians, Intelligent Theology
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2009, 10:07:02 AM »
Since this has been the topic of conversation of late, I thought we might look at the biblical grounds for a Christian apology. Notice I said Christian apology, as I'm not talking about among unsaved people. I'm interested in the Christian community. And Please, if anyone wants to get personal, or direct this at any individual, I ask that you please don't participate in this discussion.

First, I'm sure we all agree that no one should apologize if they have not offended anyone. At least I think we all agree. But when is an apology Biblically required, or is it? That's what we'll start off with. I think it is in certain situations, but I am open to differing opinions.

A very good and topical question Shirley. Particularly since many Christians express real opposition to the idea that Christians should be apologizing for offenses they may have committed against brethren. One person told me that this sounded Catholic. And I read in one blog where this guy thinks this makes Christians seem weak. Here is his abbreviated comment:

"why should we, when people of other religions never apologize for anything that they do. It will make Christians appear to the world like they are always doing something wrong if they start apologizing to each other for every little thing. So why should Christians apologize if other religions are not expected to do so as well".

First, I don't think Christians are always apologizing. But I took from his comments to mean that he thought this was a form of Christians "groveling," and it was an unseemly thing to the world. This seems to be the prevalent attitude of Christians that I come in contact with. That if someone is offended, that is their problem, not mine. But I think this passage has some bearing on the question.

Matthew 5:22-24
"But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift".

I do not think that asking forgiveness for any offense to a brother or sister in Christ for disrespectful behavior, even if it is merely perceived, is in any way unchristian. Do you? On the contrary, I believe that it shows real Godly humility. We have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Humility is something that the unsaved, to a large degree, do not have. But Christ said more than once that we are blessed if we have it. And what other religions do is their business, it should have no bearing on our behavior.
Proverbs 1:5-6 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings."

Harold

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm a llama!
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 11:39:17 AM »
You guys are getting soft. Christians shouldn’t have to apologize for anything. Christians are already forgiven and already perfect, so as perfect, they have nothing to apologize or make amends for.

 John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
 
 We have no sin to apologize for. Next you'll be confessing to Priests.

beelsls

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 60
  • Gender: Male
  • Obviously I'm a Novice
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2009, 12:47:22 PM »
Because Christians do still sin, I think that throughout our lives there are times when an apology is in order. When we break one of Gods laws the Holy Spirit convicts us and if you are truly one of Gods Elect you will repent and ask for forgiveness. The difference between God and man is that God has already forgiven His Elect and man has not and may not.
An apology needs to come from someone not be drawn out of them. An apology is worthless unless it is given. When we tell our children to say they are sorry, they say it but most of the time don’t mean it. On the other hand if our children say they are sorry without being told they truly see that they were wrong and are truly sorry.
I also think that there are things that may be offensive to one person that someone else does not. Sometimes there are good reasons for the way people feel and even though we may be offended by something they say, they may have a reason for saying it.
I think back of the many times I should have apologized for things I have done in my life and did not, and the times that someone else should have in my mind apologized to me. I probably owe more than I am owed.
His Will Be Done

Bill

Shirley

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Gender: Female
  • The Spirit of Christ
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2009, 12:52:10 PM »
Harold,
  I actually expected some of this type of sentiment, because I've encountered it before, but if that verse is the best you can come up with to forbid Christian apology, then I must say, it's pretty thin. Personally, I believe that when a Christian claims some responsibility for a slight or offense they never intended, and yet made, is the pinnacle of true sacrifice and Christian behavior. This doesn't have anything to do with being made perfect in Christ, I absolutely believe that. Because without a Christian apology for offense, Christian reconciliation is a distant option.

The problem is (as I see it), some obstinate Christians are so stubborn, they don't really care about that. This is the real problem in general Christianity today, and I think we've seen examples of that. I feel Christians are slow to examine themselves in general.

Psalms 139:23-24
"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting".
 
But you have to want to be a better Christian before you can ever be a better Christian. You have to want to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, before you can. And to many Christians have an intellectual knowledge of Christ, but are lacking in the personal relationship.

Shirley

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Gender: Female
  • The Spirit of Christ
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2009, 01:01:00 PM »
An apology needs to come from someone not be drawn out of them. An apology is worthless unless it is given.


Good point! An apology must come from the heart, else it is artificial and without real meaning. I know when people try to shame someone into apologizing, even when they really should rightly apologize, that apology (if forthcoming) is really worthless. It's not from the heart in repentance.

 That's why I try never to ask anyone for an apology.  If they are of a mind to, they'll give it gracefully. If not, that's between them and God. the problem is, people don't think about the damage they do with words. I guess that is why God likens the tongue to a snake.


Soldier

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 75
  • Obviously I'm a Novice
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2009, 01:36:09 PM »
I guess I'll chime in. Hope I don't put my foot in my mouth, if I do, I apologize. From my dealings on many different forums, I would say the Reformed and Puritan community is less likely to apologize than any other. I think it has to do with their strict background and thinking everything is ordained, but neglecting that they should "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." Does not even our conscience tell us to apologize to the brethren when we offend them? It does me.

Acts 24:16
 "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men."

The Reformed doctrine has nothing to do with neglect of apologies, but somehow that is connected. There are some Christians, particularly the well educated, who fear that the nature of an apology is that of an admission of direct personal responsibility to some degree (which it is). And their sense of fearing to be found in error will not permit them to admit to any responsibility. Is it not really an ego problem? The more egotistical a person is, the less likely they are to apologize, because they feel that impinges on how people will perceive them. It's all about them. In other words, they're worried about the effect it will have on perceptions of them, rather than its effect on the person offended. the fact is, apologies are a basic of real Christianity, despite what some think. It is easy to get mixed up in semantics here, but in all truth, repressing ego is a part of personal growth and is a part of what a Christian apology brings out in us.

Reformed Baptist

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 269
  • Reformed Baptists
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2009, 02:39:30 PM »

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but any Christian who proclaims that a Christian should never apologize to anyone for anything, is truly ignorant of what Christianity is. Truly!

Amy Lineal

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 20
  • Obviously I'm a Novice
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2009, 06:12:50 PM »
If we are talking about cyberspace and there is no face-to-face contact, then preferably BEFORE someone has to start another thread with a question.  When one is confronted and witnesses are brought forth, the offender should apologize.  Of course, if he or she stops reading the thread, then no action can take place.

...Christians shouldn’t have to apologize for anything. Christians are already forgiven and already perfect, so as perfect, they have nothing to apologize or make amends for.

In the spirit of I'm OK--You're OK by Thomas Harris  and I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help   by Wendy Kaminer, I am inspired to write a book called,

I'm Christian, You're Christian: How Church Relationships Benefit from Ignoring Offenses Rather than Deal With Them.
 
Would anyone like to write my preface?  ;D


We have no sin to apologize for. Next you'll be confessing to Priests.


This is as unloving a spirit one can have.   :'(

Diane Moody

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
  • Gender: Female
  • The Kingdom is Within You
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2009, 06:22:40 PM »
I guess I'll chime in. Hope I don't put my foot in my mouth, if I do, I apologize. From my dealings on many different forums, I would say the Reformed and Puritan community is less likely to apologize than any other. I think it has to do with their strict background and thinking everything is ordained,

That's not really true. A lot of Reformed people have commented, and I think most believe in apologies. So you can't really generalize like that. I know what you mean about "some" reformed theologians, but they are really a small minority. Tony Warren, Rev C Bouwman, David J. Engelsma, James M. Frye, Anthony A. Hoekema, Kim Riddlebarger, they have all preached sermons on forgiveness and apology. If you are talking about the more Reconstructionist Reformed, that's a different area. But you can't generalize.


Quote
but neglecting that they should "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." Does not even our conscience tell us to apologize to the brethren when we offend them? It does me.

Acts 24:16
 "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men."

Yes, I agree. But this has nothing to do with Reformed people not understanding this. I think most do.


Diane Moody

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
  • Gender: Female
  • The Kingdom is Within You
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2009, 06:34:17 PM »

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but any Christian who proclaims that a Christian should never apologize to anyone for anything, is truly ignorant of what Christianity is. Truly!


Yeah! Hard to believe that there are really those professing Christians around who "actually" believe that, isn't it? Whew!

For those of us who actually take the word seriously, which seems to be fewer and fewer, I think this passage speaks directly to the issue of the Church community, confession/apology and forgiveness. I mean if we are going to bring the Bible into it  :-[

 James 5:16
 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Pretty hard to do if you self righteously proclaim you have no faults, and therefore nothing to pray for.  ::)


Jimmy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
  • Gender: Male
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2009, 01:01:46 AM »
I was wondering, can anyone think of place in Scripture where someone has clearly made an apology to someone who they had done wrong?
I can't seem to recall one right now.

I do believe in apologizing if we have done someone wrong. I think it is a serious matter when we know we have sinned against someone and aren't willing to set the record straight.

Isn't it somewhat of an apology when we go to the Lord humbly asking forgiveness of our sin to Him? And are not our brothers and sisters in the Lord of the same body with Christ Himself? Surely it's easy to offend others in the Church when we are still in this sinful body. Without the restraining hand of the Lord we are still capable of doing some pretty bad stuff.
So asking forgiveness; Yes.
Forgiving ; seventy times seventy

Pro 18:19    A brother offended [is harder to be won] than a strong city: and [their] contentions [are] like the bars of a castle.

Mat 18:15 Tells us to go to that person even before he comes to apologize



Mat 18:6   ¶    But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.


Mat 18:7        Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

Mat 18:15   ¶    Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.


Mat 18:16        But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.


Mat 18:21   ¶    Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?


Mat 18:22        Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Mat 18:17        And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.


Jimmy
If Christ is in the boat we can smile at the storm

Granny

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 86
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2009, 01:44:57 AM »
Wonderful post Jimmy. When we are told to confess our sins one to another, the whole point is forgivenesws, and thus apology. The dictionary defines apology (in this instance) as the expression of regret; confession of wrongdoing; to be sorry for; a written or spoken expression of one's remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another. No surprise it fits the biblical description of confession of faults to one another. Apology begets forgiveness, does it not? Is it not good for the soul?


Terrell Meyer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
  • Obviously I'm a Novice
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2009, 07:42:27 AM »
I guess I'll chime in. Hope I don't put my foot in my mouth, if I do, I apologize. From my dealings on many different forums, I would say the Reformed and Puritan community is less likely to apologize than any other. I

I think the word you're looking for is not necessarily Reformed but "Snobbish" Christians. They are in every group, not just the Reformed. They are theologians who stick their collective noses out at the layman or the less learned, and they generally always ask for your "credentials" when you debate them with scripture. As if without training at a seminary, you can't know what the bible says. I ran across a few of them at the PuritanBoard forum and never went back.  I wouldn't worry about Christians like that, they have their reward.

I don't believe that any sound Christian would reject the idea of a Christian apologizing. The one person that said that here is the exception, not the rule. And where was his backing for such a nonsensical Christian theology? His word alone!

Pearson

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 213
  • Conformed by the Blood
Re: When Should A Christian Apologize?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2009, 09:29:09 AM »
[Soapbox mode on]
We should all know that an apology is the expression of our regret for some error, perceived or otherwise. Confession is the first step in forgiveness, even as with God, so with man (Acts 24:16; James 5:16). There are no unforgiving people in the kingdom of God.

1 John 2:15-16
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Pride is the killer of confession and without confession there is no recognition of wrongdoing, so how can there be remission or forgivenesss. Is there any wonder God said;

Proverbs 16:18-19
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."

More Christians should seek the lowly spirit rather than the prideful one in dealing with offenses. An apology is healing to the soul of the apologist, even more than the one receiving the apology. And often the lack of an apology is the start of deterioration and trouble among the Church. Which thing God hates.

Pro 18:19    A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.


Just My two cents

[Soapbox mode off]

 


[ Home | Eschatology | Bible Studies | Classics | Articles | Sermons | Apologetics | Search | F.A.Q. ]