Christians mistakenly believe that apologizing discredits everything they’ve ever said. As if saying “we’re sorry” will somehow negate the fact that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. In reality, apologizing promotes honesty, transparency, authenticity and humility, things all Christians should exhibit throughout their lives. When Christians apologize, it adds integrity and legitimacy to their words and actions…
Maybe this is why Christians rarely hear sermons or teachings about apologizing to non-Christians. Mainstream Christian culture teaches the opposite: believers are always right. The inner-circle perception is that Christians don’t make mistakes—only non-Christians do.
SOURCE: Stephen Mattson: Can Christianity Learn to Say, “I’m Sorry”? | Red Letter Christians.
Saying I’m sorry is not something that I shy away from. I, like everyone else in this world have made some pretty stupid mistakes. Anyone who has studied much in the way of church history know that the church has also made some pretty serious errors. Like silently sat back during the 1950s and watched church after church in African-American neighborhoods be burned. They sat stoically in the background while basic civil rights were denied a large portion of the population. In fact many so-called Christians were fervent members of the KKK performing these atrocities! Before that there was WWII. How many Christians stood by while the Nazi regime annihilated millions of people because of their religious affiliation?
Christian leaders have persecuted many as heretics only for them to later be deemed as saints. Galileo spent the last part of his life in-house arrest because the church, which was the very dominant world power at the time, called him a heretic for saying the earth revolved around the sun. Joan of Arc was burned and later made a saint. Mistakes have been made throughout the church’s history.
Shunning is one of the saddest parts of the current day church. When someone has been deemed a heretic by a local clergyman most of the church’s members basically write them off as friends. I have first hand knowledge of this fact. After eight years of sitting side-by-side with people I considered good friends and after literally hundreds of hours of volunteer work to build most of the cabinets and shelves for the new church building I found how deep those friendships really were. When I was told I didn’t have the “right” beliefs and therefore was no longer considered a member of the church without exception all of my “friends” fell away. I have been maybe not officially shunned but shunned just the same. I think, or at least hope, that some of that is just fear of association. They are afraid they might be next it they continue to associate with a heretic.
Getting back to the topic at hand the church certainly has much to say they are sorry for. It has been a pleasant surprise to see that Pope Francis has been saying, at least figuratively if not literally, he is sorry about many different things the Catholic church has done. The Protestant church on the other hand continues in their ways of insisting they are perfect in all their words and actions. This arrogance, along with each denomination’s insistence that they are the only ones to have it right, is one of the saddest parts about the church today. All 39,000+ versions of it…