Has anyone ever embarrassed, hurt or insulted you openly in public? Have you ever done so? Have you ever made public some information about someone later to find out that information was wrong? Have you ever defamed or slandered someone?
So, many times when we realize what we’ve done, truly feel sorry and want to apologize. We’ll pull the person or persons to the side and tell them, “I’m sorry… I was wrong”.
This is good but not good enough…
Acts 16:37 (NKJV)
37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”
Those who heard or witnessed the embarrassment may still think you were right. Those who heard or witnessed the insult may still be influenced by what you did or said…that public embarrassment deserves a public apology.
I remember growing up in church that sometimes in testimonies, people would stand before the church and proclaim, “If I’ve ever done anything to hurt anyone here today, I’m sorry”…if you know who you hurt and what you did, this also is not good enough.
If you know that you slapped someone in the face, simply saying, “I’m sorry IF I hurt you” isn’t enough. If you slandered someone, making a blanket statement to a group that, “If I hurt SOMEONE, I’m sorry” is just not enough.
If you know what you did and who you did it to, then you need to show enough respect to call out their name.
It’s good to apologize, but if we aren’t careful, we can take the easy way out and not fully respect the person or persons that we have hurt.
Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV)
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.