Forgiveness Does Not Heal Everything. We often have the mistaken idea that forgiveness will wipe the slate clean. Let me share three things that forgiveness does not do. (1) Forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of wrongdoing. The father who abandons his children may repent ten years later, but forgiveness does not restore the ten years of void.
If adults need to apologize (And who would argue that?), then the art of apology needs to be learned in childhood. Here are the steps we recommend for parents, grandparents, and teachers:
- Help kids to accept responsibility for their own behavior. Our adult patterns of sweeping issues under the rug and shifting blame can often be traced all the way back to childhood habits. My own two-year old son passed gas and then blamed it on his diaper, saying, “My diaper burped!”
- Teach toddlers that their actions affect others. When you pull our pet’s tail, you hurt him. When you rub our cat’s whiskers, he purrs.
Before Gary Chapman and I wrote When Sorry Isn’t Enough, we asked 400 people what they look for in sincere apologies. We found that their answers fell into these five categories (we call them ‘apology languages’):
Apology Language #1: Expressing Regret “I am sorry.”
Apology Language #2: Accepting Responsibility “I was wrong.”
Apology Language #3: Restitution-Making Amends “What can I do to make it right?”
Apology Language #4: Genuinely Repenting “I want to change.”
Apology Language #5: Requesting Forgiveness “Will You Please Forgive me?”
Below, you’ll find the draft of a stunning public apology that was delivered exactly five years ago. What is the context? It’s painful to even describe this. Robin was the founding pastor of our church. He was married and had an inappropriate relationship with a female church member. He was removed by the church and everyone went through a period of healing. He returned and asked the church elders for an opportunity to publicly apologize. I attended and was deeply touched by the ‘forgiveness service.’ Read More »
Read More » Dear hurting wife one, Your family should not have mistreated you. Your home should be your castle, a place in which you feel safe and protected. A man has violated your trust. Whether it was a relative who abused you or a husband who left you, your pain is unimaginable.
Gary Chapman is well known as “The Love Language Man.” His New York Times book, The Five Love Languages, selling over 9 million copies, has become a classic. To have blissful relationships, showing love is a must. To have happy friends and co-workers, showing appreciation is essential. Recently, Dr. Chapman has embraced a second necessary ingredient for healthy relationships: dealing with offenses through apologies and forgiveness. In May, Gary Chapman and I released When Sorry Isn’t Enough, which tells readers how to make things right with anyone. We believe that these two books fit together like a hand in a glove. Both sets of tools are needed to make relationships work. Read More »