There are two words that can make all the difference in your ministry relationships. Those words are very simple, yet they are quite profound. These words can heal and create a sense of trust. They can let others know our sincerity as well as our approachability.
These words are… “I’m sorry.”
Why is it so hard to apologize and admit our weaknesses, mistakes and even sins in ministry? Is it pride? Is it the sense that admitting any wrong doing will jeopardize our ministry or public reputation? I know that I don’t like to admit when I am wrong. And I certainly don’t like to apologize if I feel that I am not really responsible for whatever “wrong” was done. Should we apologize just because we know that another person has perceived an injustice even if we are not primarily responsible for the outcome? I believe the answer is frequently “Yes.”
We can disarm situations by taking responsibility for our part. Also, we can let the other person know that we wanted a different outcome than what occurred. We can recognize their pain and express our desire to move forward in a new direction. We can create a bridge that will allow a restoration of our relationship.
Of course, there are some things that leaders should never apologize for because it would do more harm than good. We don’t need to apologize for loving God or fearing Him more than any person. We don’t need to apologize for obeying divine direction or speaking the truth in love. It requires divine direction to know what is appropriate and helpful for each situation.
Are you willing to be proactive in seeking reconciliation? Sometimes it takes a big person to say that you’re sorry.