Generally speaking, apologies acknowledge our wrongdoing and our attempts to make amends. And, of course, we should be quick to apologize whenever we are in the wrong and want to make things right again. But apologies are not necessary and might actually be unhelpful when we offer them merely to appease the other and we’ve done nothing wrong.
We often do this when we feel the relationship is threatened in some way. The fear of making the other upset and possibly leaving us leads us to take the blame for things not ours to own.
And, at first glance, it seems like we’re taking the high road for the greater good.
But love is not at the root of our motivation. And fear and desperation are fueling our decisions.
We’re apologizing in our desperate attempts to stay in the good graces of the other.
And this is a no-win situation in the end.
On the one hand, we’re compromising ourselves because we’re trying to take responsibility for things not ours to own.
We’re not living in integrity by accepting this false guilt. And eventually we make winning the approval of others our idol rather than living faithfully in who God has called us to be.
And, on the other hand, we lose respect and effectiveness with the other by over apologizing.
Our strength cannot be trusted to come through on behalf of others when we’re always self-blaming and cowering to meet their expectations.
And we steal the opportunity for them to grow in their responsibilities when we’re always the ones apologizing and taking the blame onto ourselves.
Of course, we should apologize as many times as necessary when we’re at fault. But we set ourselves up for many frustrations when we apologize mostly out of fear rather than love.
Be generous and discerning in your apologies. Not all are necessary or helpful.