Why are genuine apologies so important?
Everyone is wondering if Johnny Depp is truly sorry...
Last week, famous actor Johnny Depp and his girlfriend Amber Heard made a video apologising for bringing their two dogs into Australia last year without declaring them to quarantine officials.
Depp and Heard were asked to make the video, which emphasises the importance of respecting biosecurity laws, by an Australian court, and it was posted to the Facebook page of Australia’s deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce.
But since Depp and Heard released the video, it has received pretty much nothing but criticism, as people doubt the authenticity of their apology and mocking Depp’s screen presence.
So this got me thinking – why is it so important to be genuine when we say sorry? I think the answers to this question is very important for Christians for three reasons…
Genuine apologies to God bring about forgiveness
Do you remember when you first became a Christian? Or if you’re not a Christian, do you know how it happens? It all starts with a genuine apology.
Even though God designed the world and knows how it works, we turn away from him and want to do our own things. And a perfect God can’t have a relationship with imperfect humans! Thankfully, God made a way for us to re-enter relationship with him – through his perfect son Jesus. But in order to enter that relationship, we need to first apologise for turning away.
But when we genuinely apologise, we are instantly showered in grace. Our relationship with God is repaired! And all we had to do is have a serious talk with God and say sorry. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Genuine apologies to friends and family show genuine repentance
Christians don’t have to be perfect – Jesus did that for us! But once we become Christians, our behaviour should reflect our identity. That means that what we do should demonstrate that we understand the gravity of what Jesus did for us.
Everything we say should also demonstrate that we have been saved, so that includes apologising! When we genuinely apologise to someone we have wronged, this is an outworking of a repentant heart, seeking to do the will of God and relying on his grace when we fail. Genuine apologies should be characteristic of Christians.
Genuine apologies are honest
If you apologise and don’t mean it, that’s a lie. And God hates it when we lie!
Now don’t get confused – I am not saying that you are allowed to not apologise when you’ve done something wrong because you don’t feel sorry! Instead, if someone thinks you need to apologise for something but you don’t think you do, you need to sit down and have a serious think about it. Odds are if that person is hurt, there is something you need to say sorry for, even if it was just a misunderstanding. But make sure that when you apologise you are genuinely sorry – fake apologies are lies and that brings no joy to God.
It’s not really our place to say whether Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were genuinely apologetic when they made that video. But instead of wondering about that, maybe we should ask ourselves – do I genuinely apologise when I am in the wrong?