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The Art of Apologizing Well

art of apologizing well

Katie wanted to discuss the art of apologizing well. She prepared six questions to ask me. Here’s the outline for the video and the transcript below it:

  1. 0–4:17—Have you always been good at apologizing?
  2. 4:17–6:54—What are wrong ways to apologize?
  3. 6:54–13:00—What are right ways to apologize?
  4. 13:00–19:35—What is your favorite story about apologizing?
  5. 19:35–24:04—Should we apologize to our kids?
  6. 24:04–27:39—How can apologizing or lack of apologizing affect marriages?

1. Have you always been good at apologizing? Elaborate on your “history” with apologizing and how you grew in it.

When I saw this question, my first thought was, “If I’ve learned too apologize well, it’s from making so many mistakes.”

As a pastor you’re going to learn to become comfortable apologizing, because it’s a necessity to have a healthy church body. I’d go so far as saying don’t become a pastor if you’re not comfortable apologizing. You’re going to have to apologize for your own actions and the actions of others. Nothing looks worse than shifting blame, even if the blame belongs elsewhere.

As far as when I learned to apologize, I’d have to give credit to LTC Richard Brewer, my commander in Army ROTC. He didn’t teach me to apologize. He forced me to apologize. I couldn’t make excuses or shift blame.

2. What are wrong ways to apologize?

When we should apologize our sinful nature wants to flare up, get angry, make excuses or blame others. Some people – whether intentionally or unintentionally – act like they’re apologizing, but their “apologies” are simply excuses disguised as apologies.

Two words destroy apologies: Continue reading The Art of Apologizing Well

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When People Let Us Down

Discouraged

This relates to my last post that ended with the encouragement for our service to be done for God:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
  • Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

This is the solution when we feel like people let us down. We weren’t doing it for them. We were doing it for God.

A husband says, “I work hard. I provide for my wife. I love her, but it seems like she doesn’t appreciate it.” Remember you’re doing it for the Lord.

A wife starts to feel like, “I support my husband. I love him. I submit to him. I honor him. But he doesn’t put forth as much effort with me.” Remember you’re doing it for the Lord.

If you’re a husband, you should love and cherish your wife not because she’s perfect or deserves it, but because you love God and that’s what He wants. If you’re a wife, you submit to and honor your husband, not because he’ll always make the right decisions, but because you love God and that’s what pleases Him.

At work you’re diligent and you do your best, but you’re always passed over for promotions. Maybe you see others slough off or act dishonestly, maybe it’s even from those in positions over you. Remember, you’re doing your best work for the Lord. You want to be a good witness. You hope others will see Christ through you.

You have a friend and you’ve spent hours listening to the person’s problems, always making yourself available without ever being asked how you’re doing, how you’re feeling, if you need prayer. You give and give and you’re finally going through something, but your friend doesn’t have time for you. Remember you were doing it for the Lord.

I saved this example for last because it can be the most painful; it’s almost impossible not to take it personally, blame yourself, but I’ve seen it happen to wonderful parents…

You’ve invested so much in your children. Not just hours like in a friendship, but years of putting your child ahead of yourself, training, educating, instructing, mentoring, praying every night for your child to love and fear God. Then the child gets older and rebels. My encouragement: remember you were doing it for the Lord, and He is El Roi, The God Who Sees, and your service has pleased Him. Raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, not because they’ll always make the best decisions, but because you love God.

If your service is for the Lord, you’re going to save yourself from two dangerous threats:

  1. Discouragement: if your service is for man instead of God, it will hurt when you don’t receive the recognition and gratitude you think you deserve. When you feel like your love and effort isn’t reciprocated, you’ll be frustrated or bitter or both.
  2. Pride: if your service is for man instead of God, you become susceptible to pride because it will matter that people felt like you did a great job. The compliments will become very meaningful. You’ll start to believe the praise.

If your service is for the Lord though, you’ll be spared from these threats and you’ll have the satisfaction knowing you’re pleasing the Lord and doing what He wants.

Let me encourage you with these two biblical examples…

In 2 Corinthians 11:22-29 Paul listed the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering he experienced as a servant of the Gospel and it sounds like more than one man could handle. He came to the end of his life and in one of the saddest verses in the New Testament he said, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim 4:11). That’s it. Only Luke. Hundreds, if not thousands of people Paul had served and helped in his service for the Gospel and he goes on to say, “No one stood with me, but all forsook me.” (2 Tim 4:16). And then listen to this: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Tim 4:17). When Paul felt like he didn’t have anyone else, he knew he had the Lord, and the Lord helped him through his most difficult times when everyone else had let him down.

Think about Jesus’ example: He spent years helping people to the greatest extent His physical body allowed. When He found Himself on trial, many of the same people He helped yelled, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21). When Jesus was arrested, with the exception of John, all the disciples fled and denied knowing Him. When Jesus looked down from the cross, John was the only one He saw along with His mother. We’re all going to experience people letting us down, but we have in Jesus a Savior who in the words of Hebrews 2:17 “had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest.” When we feel let down by others, we can go to Him and know He hears us and has experienced the same.

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Rules for the Classroom…or Life

Rules for the Classroom...or LifeIn a recent sermon I mentioned my “Team Expectations” (aka classroom rules) from when I taught. Katie shared them on Facbook saying “They could also be rules for the home or life in general.” In response to some requests for them, here they are exactly as they were posted in the back of my classroom with brief explanations below each…

MR. LaPIERRE’S TEAM EXPECTATIONS

1. Be honest – don’t ever lie for any reason.

The world acts like lying is no big deal. Lying is even expected in some circles (politics). But lying is one of the six things God hates according to Proverbs 6:17. I wanted my kids to know that.

2. Be humble – don’t brag or be prideful.

Also included in this rule is what I called, “subtle brags” or bragging when you’re acting like you’re not. In real life it looks like being the hero of your own stories, and on Facebook it looks like:

  • I’m so glad there are still nice people in this world. An old man just came up to me and said, ‘You sure are beautiful!’”
  • I’m so completely exhausted, but what a blessing it was to spend the entire day helping my friend move.”
  • Posting shameless selfies. If the majority of your profile pictures are just your face…from a few inches away…and you swap that picture out for another picture of just your face from a few inches away then this is probably you.

Proverbs 27:2 Let another else praise you, and not your own mouth, a stranger and not your own lips.

3. Be nice – say and do things that help your teammates: compliment, encourage, clap and cheer for them.

Kids are naturally competitive and jealous. The solution is to encourage them to rejoice when others succeed.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Encourage one another and build each other up.

4. Do not say or do anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

Usually this is worded like, “Do not say anything mean.” The problem with that is the word mean is subjective. All year you’ll have to listen to kids saying, “I didn’t say anything mean” or “I didn’t mean to be mean.” But when another kid is crying they can’t say, “I didn’t hurt his feelings.”

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any abusive language come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.

5.    Apologize if you hurt someone’s feelings…

  • even if it was an accident
  • even if someone hurt your feelings too, because you still need to apologize for your actions
  • and do not use the word “but” or make any excuses when you apologize.

I could write a completely different post about apologizing (and maybe I will), but for now I’ll just say most people don’t know how to apologize. If your apology sounds like, “I’m sorry BUT…” or “I’m sorry YOU…” it’s not an apology; it’s an excuse disguised as an apology.

I wanted to start teaching kids early the right way to apologize. If people have hurt you and you were looking forward to an apology but heard, “I’m sorry you’re mad” then you probably wish that person had a teacher with this rule.

James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other.

6. Do not shift blame to someone else for your actions – YOU are completely responsible for all of YOUR actions.

99% of the time when kids get in trouble, the first word out of their mouths is the name of another student or the pronouns he, she, or they:

  • “Brian pushed me first.”
  • “She was talking to me first.”
  • “They told me I could.”

It began at The Fall when Adam and Eve were confronted:

  • Adam said, “The WOMAN whom YOU gave me, gave me the fruit” (Gen 3:12).
  • Eve said, “The SERPENT deceived me” (Gen 3:13).

In a few words, Adam blamed God and Eve, and with nobody else to blame Eve said, “The devil made me do it.” The moment sin entered the world and man received a sin nature, with it came the terrible habit we all have of shifting blame.

I wanted to try to prevent that in my classroom as much as possible.

7. Do not whine, moan, groan, complain or roll your eyes.

We all do this – myself included – and the people who say they don’t are breaking the first rule.

Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing.

Classroom pic

classroom