What are you apologizing for?

This week the Today Show did a story on what they said was a “growing movement for people to stop saying “sorry” so often.”  I don’t know how anyone determines that such a “movement” exists. The Today Show had only one source, author and Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren.

Warren said that she has “a fraught relationship with the words, ‘I’m sorry.’” She says “I’m sorry” habitually, compulsively, even when she doesn’t mean to, like when she apologizes to a coffee table for bumping into it. When she’s late for a meeting, of course, she apologizes instinctively, but she says “sorry” so often that her friends tell her to stop. To which she says, “I’m sorry.”

Warren says she also teaches her children to say, “I forgive you.”

She suggests that the potential problems with apologizing too much are that our apologies may not really be sincere, and that we might be in danger of letting others take advantage of us by not being assertive enough. 

Where do we draw the line between “proper self-regard and healthy, humble diffidence?”

As a Christian, Warren knows that she’s a sinner in need of repentance.

The Prophet Elijah was one of the greatest prophets, but his whole career was one of depending on God and the people the world had rejected.

More than once, God left Elijah to depend on birds for food.

How’s that for self-regard?

But then, what if we really believed the Gospel? What if we really believed that all we had to do was repent, and we would be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with the Creator. 

How’s that for self-regard? What greater affirmation could there be in life?

Believing that we’re a forgiven sinner lets us go out with both confidence and humility at the same time.

So Warren says she’s not quite willing to let go of saying, “I’m sorry.”  “At the end of the day, I’d rather err that way than not say “sorry” enough. And if that is wrong, which it may be, I’m very sorry.”

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