Lose the “but…” Practicing the art of apology means stopping at “I’m sorry” and not adding the “but” that often comes afterward. “I’m sorry, but…” does not count as a true apology—what the other person takes away is the reason for your action, not that you are remorseful.
Jason notes that in teaching this to his daughters, he and his wife have been able to remove the “but. . .” in their own apologies as well. “This has vastly improved our ability to get over disagreements and diffuse conflicts that might easily have escalated between us,” Jason says.
God can help us forgive. Judy, mother of four, says that when it comes to forgiveness regarding very serious sins of others, she does not believe we can do it on our own. “For many years I carried around bitterness and hatred towards someone in my life,” she says. “I would have nightmares about this person and I would wake up so angry and filled with hate.” Judy’s emotions were complicated by the fact she knew she should forgive, but she could not. “I would think that I was not a good Christian because God wanted me to love that person, and then I would hate myself.”
Finally Judy came to a place where she prayed that God would help her to forgive. “Over time I experienced freedom,” she says. “Resentment is like a ball and chain we carry around, and it only hurts us. Forgiving doesn’t mean that whatever happened is OK. It does mean that I am not going to let it control me or the relationship anymore.”
By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past four years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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