Have you ever had someone who owed you an apology who just couldn’t do it? Have you ever known someone who owes you a succession of apologies, tries to be nice to you in the interim, but repeats his offenses whenever similar situations arise? It revolves around the same thing: A lack of moral courage. Moral courage can be defined as the courage it takes to do the right thing. A person can be rather sorry for his actions and recalling the offenses may even be grievous to him, but a lack of moral courage keeps him from apologizing and reforming his actions. A lack of moral courage is likely what caused the offense in the first place: The inability or unwillingness to do the right thing.
For as good as we think we are as a human species, it’s amazing that doing the right thing can be so difficult. For all the Christians and other religious people running around, moral courage would seem to be more evident. Yet, relationships often remain damaged because there isn’t even enough moral courage in so many of us to offer a simple apology. The ego is a mighty adversary which thinks that an apology is a show of weakness.
An apology is somewhat like a confession. It’s a time to admit one’s wrong doing and resolve not to do it again. Yet, for some, they won’t apologize because they have an agenda which sometimes necessitates offending others. They may offer a quick apology when caught red-handed, but they resume their untoward actions whenever needed.
For the most part, an actual apology means less than the apology’s presumed and inherent intent not to repeat the offense. When offenses are repeated, we presume that the person uses the apology only as a manipulative tool to get around those who stand against their offenses. Of course those apologies never seem sincere. Nevertheless, a sincere apology with the firm intent to not repeat the offense is an invaluable way to renew damaged relationships.