Confession–which is a form of apology–is a healthy part of faith. Apology is part of the reason for the passing of the peace, which is modeled after Jesus’ instructions in the gospel of Matthew to “first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
I can handle confession and forgiveness. The general acknowledgment that I have sinned (along with everybody else) is mercifully light on details. But a true face-to-face apology to someone I have hurt? That’s tricky.
There’s a reason that the church practices confession and forgiveness, and the passing of the peace, the same reason that Jesus always connected love of God with love of neighbor. The abundant life Jesus offers is life in relationship and community. Being human means that our relationships and communities inevitably fall short. We hurt others; others hurt us. We need to give apologies, and we need to hear them.
This message is excerpted from “Offering a true apology” by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni in the July 2017 Cafe online magazine.
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