About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Jen,
    I love the wisdom of good old Ben Franklin. He nailed it. I think so many times we stop after, “I’m sorry.” Sometimes that alone rings hollow. I know that it can for me. This has really made me think about how I apologize. I need to accept my responsibility, admit I was wrong, ask how I can make restitution (this is probably the most overlooked aspect), and ask for forgiveness. I don’t know if there’s even such a thing as a “good” apology, but I think what you’ve outlined is a great model to follow. This post is a “saver”… great insights!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Right after I wrote this post, my son and I had an exchange. I apologized and immediately wanted to say, “but you did…”

      Good thing this was fresh in my mind. Silence was difficult, yet important.

  2. I have to admit this is a hard concept for me. My husband is good at telling me that I always think I am right (when I guess I am sometimes wrong??)and that I should apologize for “saying too much” or “giving my opinion too literally” to others. (Oh, I can kind of feel my heart start racing just by typing the words…..)

    We can and have gone round and round about the subject. When one should apologize for their feelings/view points if those feelings/statements hurt others. I usually tell him I have a hard shell and just go with it where as, he feels more. Opposites in the traditional male/female roles….

    Words for thought for sure..

    • It is such a hard concept, isn’t it? Yet so important. Now I am not saying that you should never give your opinion. In this age of being politically correct, often people misconstrue being sensitive , therefore brushing necessary truth telling under the rug, but in the case of an apology, I always err on the side of issuing it.

  3. The timing for this could not be more perfect….
    I honestly did not realize there are “apology” languages! This makes so much sense!
    Currently struggling with a couple of relationships, and your wisdom unveiled a gift of clarity… THANK YOU!!!

  4. I’d never thought of there being different languages for apologies, but this makes absolute sense! A friend once mentioned how important it was to ask for forgiveness for an apology to be complete. I had always left it unsaid (implied, I thought, like you wrote), but I see now how that’s simply a different apology language. Thanks for this!

  5. I read about the apology languages a few years ago when the book was being published. It has changed the way I apologize and the way I teach my kids to apologize. I do forget to add the asking to give restitution, and the asking for forgiveness. I will have to remember to add this, and teach my kids to do these two steps too.
    I have learned that some people will not ask for forgiveness and I still need to forgive them anyway for my sake and my relationship with other people. If I forgive from my heart, then I am keeping accounts short and not allowing bitterness to take root. I had to learn this lesson the hard way, and the root of bitterness in me was toxic until I learned this truth about forgiveness. I had layers of unforgiveness to peel back and deal with before I was free.

      • We hear so much about forgiving but hardly anything about being accountable and taking responsibility for how we hurt others. A simple, “I’m sorry”, seems like a very easy price to pay in comparison to the soul crushing damage one experiences and sometimes continues to struggle with for a long time. Add the pressure to forgive, and the guilt in feeling as if one can’t, or hasn’t and the scales tip heavy for the one that is wronged. It seems like understanding what you are saying you are sorry for, and hearing and acknowledging how your actions affected the other person would be a BIG piece of apologizing.

        In my case, someone that caused a lot of pain has said they were sorry, but they will not say what they or sorry for, nor will they hear me, ask me or listen to how their actions affected me. I am given articles on forgiveness, Bible verses on forgetting the past…but where is accountability and compassion and not being dismissive and unsupportive?

  6. Hearing “Will you please forgive me?” is the one I needed. Those five words tell me ears they recognize their wrong, admit it, and seek restoration in the relationship. Thanks, Jennifer, for the clarity of what speaks true to my heart. : )

    • I need that too. I had an issue with our son today and he texted me, “I’m sorry.” I was thankful he did, but it still feels so empty since there’s so much more that needs to be said. I can only work on myself now and realize that I need to give more too.

      • So agreed, Jennifer, that we can only work on ourselves. People will not / cannot always give us what we need. But when people fail to give me what I need, it reminds me only God can meet all my needs. Sweet blessings, friend. : )

  7. This is marvelous Jen, thank you! I agree with Bev, this is definitely one I will save. Languages of apology; so beautifully written Jen.

    I have had experience with the person who apologizes with “Well, I’m sorry that what I said offended you”, but more often with those who don’t know how to deal with receiving an apology and a request for forgiveness. The two that still come to mind, but no longer hurt, are a woman who, after hearing my apology for speaking of her with a mutual friend (and I hadn’t driven a block away from that home when God said, “that was gossip and is not fitting behavior.” ) laughed in my face and said “oh forget it. That’s nothing!”

    The other was a leader in my church. I had been in disagreement with him and when it came to me that I was rebelling against a man in authority over me I went to Him as he closed a meeting and said, “I need to ask your forgiveness for my behavior, I’m sorry . . .” and he interrupted me, picking up his books as he said, “That has nothing to do with me, that’s between you and God,” and walked away.

    I struggled with that until I visited her church with a sweet neighbor of mine and in his teaching her pastor stopped what he was saying and stood quietly a bit and then said, “Folks, I want you to know that if someone, anyone, ever comes to you with an apology and a request for forgiveness, you do NOT cast that aside as of no importance. It IS important” I knew that God wanted me to hear that. And in these twenty years since those incidents I am sure I have been a more forgiving, thankful person because I know that my Father God is not just watching my life, Jesus comes and walks through my mess with me and helps me grow.

    • Isn’t is something how those old memories from years ago can still have such an impact? For me, I can revisit one ministry hurt in particular and it feels like yesterday, yet like you, it taught me so much and for me, it changed who I am now as a leader and I m so thankful for that experience.

      I’m so glad that the Lord brought you right to that visiting church for that sermon that was just for you to hear. And, I agree with him 100%.

  8. I understand love languages but there are still some people who won’t apologize or accept apologies. I had an experience with this, saying i was sorry this happened to you. Some wounds only the Lord can heal and the person still has to receive.

    • Yes, that’s so very true. My justice oriented personality sometimes struggles with that and I have to open up my arms wide to the Lord and let him take it. (Sometimes, it just takes a bit longer to pry those arms open. ;)) xoxo

  9. Jennifer,

    Apologizing comes easy to me, along with forgiving. I want to forgive people for their mistakes, or misspoken words. If I don’t forgive them then God will not forgive me of my trespasses. Loved the 5 apology languages. Never thought much about how to apologize correctly. My hubby and I are always apologizing for saying or not doing something we should have done. It has helped our marriage immensely. For me I want to accept another’s apology if done in the right spirit.

    Blessings 🙂

  10. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we learned to really apologize as a child. How many hurts we would save ourselves and others. I think we have been on both end, trying to apologize and the other person not buying a word we say and us not knowing what to say. And hearing an apology that leaves us still feeling like the other person didn’t even apologize. Thanks for your helpful words. I am sure it won’t be long before I get to put them into practice.

  11. I am so grateful, Jennifer, for these wonderful words from the Lord. I have never though about how to speak forgiveness except as from a heart of repentance, but see what I say when I ask for forgiveness. I remember someone once telling me about how the Hawaiians ask forgiveness Ho’oponopono: I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. Maybe what is needed depends on the situation too, but ultimately I pray that I say what is needed with the help of the Lord to help heal the hurt. May each of us approach one another in His love to give and receive forgiveness every day 🙂

  12. Jennifer, thank you for this! I can readily think of two persons that have hurt me but never apologized. But I think of them in love and with pity. Over a decade of struggle with ongoing issues with these persons, God has helped me see that when He says we’re to live in peace with all men insofar as it depends on me… Well, there’s a whole lot more I can do than I initially wanted to think. It doesn’t feel lovely to pray for persons that feel like enemies. Or go above and beyond for these persons to show kindness. Or to be often misunderstood and be ok with that because God understood my real intent. God also revealed some of the hurts to me that these persons struggle with. It’s so much easier to pity and love those we see hurting, than those we just see being jerks. The closest to an apology I received was a comment made that I was the only person that things worked out with (in the workplace). I was surprised. I bore scars from the wounds they inflicted on me, but the perspective they had was that things worked out. Just goes to show that even if only one side of the relationship is trying to do things God’s way, there’s hope. Thank you, Jennifer!

  13. This is so good Jen!! I’m going to get this book and try to learn more about the languages of apology. Im so glad you wrote about this important topic friend. Thank you for living a life that teaches me so much about grace, forgiveness and letting God work in the hard places of unhealed hurts.