Last night, I praised the example set by former Navy SEAL and Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw. The target of a savage joke by a Saturday Night Live cast member, the rising political star didn’t freak out over the nasty jab. Instead of demanding an apology, he did something refreshing and commendable. Stating his belief that political correctness has spun out of control, he said he didn’t need to be told “sorry” each time someone did something that should offend him. Bravo.
Make no mistake about it, I agree with Mr. Crenshaw’s stance 100%. As a society, we need to thicken our skin and tone down our outrage levels. However, let me make this clear: The act of apologizing on a personal, non-political level is still an act of humility that we all must do frequently.
In our lives, we have many relationships: spouses, family members, friends, co-workers, etc. Many of these people we interact with on a daily basis. We do a lot for them and they do a lot for us. Because it is only natural (unless you happen to be a saint), sometimes we do something that fails to either develop or maintain these bonds. In other words, we personally wrong someone. In this instance, an apology is necessary.
As humans, we are great at expecting apologies but not very good at giving them. Admitting fault and asking for someone’s forgiveness is a very humbling act. It is basically an admission of guilt as well as a shot at one’s ego. Who wants to own up to that?!
Well, it isn’t necessarily about us. Rather, it is about the other person. It is about re-establishing the bond by acknowledging to your spouse or friend that an act (or lack of an act) caused some unnecessary pain. It is recognizing a shortcoming and admitting to it. When we confess to this, it shows the other person our commitment to the relationship.
On a different level but with the same theme of humility, it is also important that we apologize to God. We all sin and we all need His forgiveness. It is crucial to constantly pray for God’s pardon and go to confession.
An apology that is a reactionary response to a preconceived notion of what society believes to be tasteful is empty. It is only meant to humiliate and push an agenda. Apologies that come from the heart and are delivered with conviction have meaning. They heal.
As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season, find the courage to apologize to someone who deserves to hear it from you. Free your conscience and start the healing process. Don’t Blink.