Apologies revisited: Heard a good one lately?

Public, direct, and heartfelt apologies are difficult…and rare.

I’ve written here numerous times about apologies and repentance. I find public apologies very interesting, especially by those who can afford to pay someone to help them “get it right.” Last week I listened to a public figure hold a press conference after his conviction for DUI. This person has a lot of money and access to all of the best “coaches”. And yet, his apology was all about himself. Asked what he learned? “I learned that life is full of second chances and I got one.” Now, that could mean that he realizes that he was protected from killing someone with his car. He avoided ending his career. Or, it could mean something far less than remorse. Really, his “apology” was all about himself.
Here’s my question to readers: Have you witnessed or experienced a “home run” apology? What made it so? What features were present? How did you know it wasn’t merely learning the right words? Did you ever think you received a real heartfelt apology only to discover later it wasn’t?

In “Machete Season” (book about Rwandan “killers”), one victim gives one requirement:

“If killers come to church to pray to God on their knees, to show us their remorse, I cannot pray either with them or against them. Real regrets are said eye to eye, not to statues of God.” (p. 163)


Filed under conflicts, Cultural Anthropology, News and politics, Repentance, self-deception

3 responses to “Apologies revisited: Heard a good one lately?

  1. Thanks for the excellent posts you provide on this blog.

    I was surprised no-one had posted any comments on this post. I became interested in this topic when the rant by actor Christian Bale was in the news. I think his apology was really quite good. He admitted he had done wrong, took responsibility for his behaviour, offered some explanation but without making excuses, promised to mend his ways, and made some amends to the person he mistreated.

    Gary Chapman takes his “Five Love Languages” concept and applies it to apologies to get a fairly similar breakdown of this process. I’ve collected a number of links in my blog post about Christian Bale from Christian and non-Christian sources; most of them amount to more or less these same four or five steps. Two obvious Biblical examples are Zaccheus and the Prodigal Son.

  2. I was recently blessed by an apology for an old offense. It was such a surprise I had to blog about it:

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