Yes, by God’s grace I have actually used this tool to apologize and boy is it painful. But anything I might do to make the apology less painful would have ruined it. However, afterwards I feel clean and restored by God and usually get a decent restoration of the relationship I have harmed.
Anything I include in your apology that makes it hurt less will decrease the chance of RESTORING THE RELATIONSHIP or HEALING THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE OTHER.
Ponder the elements of the prodigal son’s planned apology to his faithful follower. Luke 15:11
(One caveat, I need to do the apology with no expectations of ever receiving a proper apology in return. Make sure that knowing God’s proper techniques does not make me judgmental of others who aren’t fortunate enough to seek God’s ways in their dealings with you. Doing things God’s way is a reward in itself and often times the only one who notices is God and my reward won’t come till I see him.)
CONFESS MY ATTITUDE(this is the sin against God) : “God is convicting me of my bad attitude of ________. ”
BE SPECIFIC : “Which caused me to hurt you by _________________.” (Don’t water it down so the other knows that you know what you did and will be less likely to repeat. No “Sorry for whatever I did to make you pout” In English that actually means “I am so wonderful that I am willing to apologize for things too small for ordinary people to detect. You are so judgmental that you get upset over undetectable things. Sounds more like an attack to me. The word SORRY does not make an apology)
PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES: “I can only guess, but you must have felt _____________ and I am sorry for the pain I caused you.” (Don’t imply that it wasn’t that big a deal after all and they are making a mountain out of a mole hill.”)
DON’T PROMISE TO BE BETTER IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH: (This would make any same person run screaming in the other direction or worse it could cause them to pretend to forgive you.” I know that in my own strength I would fail you again, but I want you to know that I am obtaining the following help and accountability to decrease the chance.
OFFER TO MAKE AMENDS: “I know that I can’t make up for what I did but if I could make amends by _______________ I’d be so grateful. (Remember the scriptures tell us to go overboard in making amends. If we stole, pay back several fold.)
DON’T SUGGEST THAT THEY OWE YOU THE FORGIVENESS YOU CRAVE: (After all you were the one to trigger me, or your not so great yourself, or considering all that you owe me etc.) “If I were you I’d be hesitant to take another chance on relationship with me, however I really value your friendship.”
DO SUGGEST A LOW RISK FIRST STEP IN REBUILDING THE RELATIONSHIP: “Maybe I could be one of your servants” said the prodigal son.
DON’T SETTLE FOR TOO EASY A FORGIVENESS: If they say, “forget it, it wasn’t anything, I screwed up too.” Reply with, “thank you for your forgiveness and humility, I know that wasn’t easy for you and I really do feel bad for what I did.