The difference between apologizing and asking for forgiveness

All of our sons are really good at making poor decisions. This often involves some element of yelling, hiding, blaming, and occasionally a punch at one of their brothers. Because we try to be good parents, we don’t let them get away with these poor decisions without an honest conversation, asking for the specifics and reminding our boys that they will need to apologize to their brother(s) for yelling and (often) punching them between the legs. Sometimes the apology might look something like this: “I’m sorry for whatever I did!!!”, followed by more hiding, yelling, and blaming. #Parentingfail #sorryI’mnotsorry

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Sometimes Kristen and I will get into arguments, and while there is no yelling, hiding, blaming, or punches, our apologies often fall far short and look very similar to our son’s weak attempts at an apology. For some reason, asking for forgiveness from your spouse,  the person you are to love and cherish the most, is really difficult. A level of humility is required which is different than any other relationship. Bottom line: it is much harder for me to apologize to my wife than any other person. Apologizing is easy, asking for forgiveness is not. There is a world of difference between saying “I’m sorry,” and “I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me?”.  When we merely apologize, we, in essence, pretend that nothing really happened. When we ask for forgiveness, we actually acknowledge we have genuinely done something wrong.

How to move forward:

1. Ask for wisdom from the Lord:

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

We need the Lord’s help to see what we often can’t see ourselves!

2. Remember: Followers of Jesus Christ are forgiven of all sins through Christ. Our response is to do the same for others.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

You have been forgiven of much, and the only right response is to forgive your significant other when they have wronged you. (I will write more about forgiveness at a later date. Please know that granting forgiveness does not mean that you are fully reconciled to the other person, nor does it mean that there are no consequences for the faults committed.)

3. Humble yourself

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

This is often the hardest part for me with my wife. I am a marriage pastor and I still struggle with this. There are times when I know I am wrong and need to apologize and ask for forgiveness but just cannot get myself to do it. Humble yourself!

 Your challenge today: Ask for help from the Lord, remember the forgiveness granted to us in and through Christ, and humble yourself, especially with the person you love the most.

Now read this: The number one goal of marriage 

This post originally appeared on and was republished with permission.

Scott Kedersha is the director of premarital and newly married ministries at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, TX. He’s a loyal husband and father to four boys.


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