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Don’t Say You’re Sorry

Don’t Say You’re Sorry

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Question:

A certain individual has been disrespectful to a parent. The adult child feels that since they said “sorry,” that is enough. But it was a very general apology, and they did not take responsibility for their actions. The parent accepted the apology, but is still very hurt. The adult child believes their parent is acting “infantile” (the parent is eighty-three years old). What can I say to get across to the adult child the importance of working this situation through?

Answer:

An apology has two distinct parts: saying sorry and asking for forgiveness.

An apology has two distinct parts: saying sorry and asking for forgivenessWhen we say, “I am sorry,” we are making a statement about ourselves: I am remorseful, I regret my actions, and I hope not to repeat them.

But an apology is not just about you and your feelings. It is about the person you hurt as well. You don’t apologize just to absolve yourself from guilt, but more to acknowledge that you are the cause of someone else’s pain, and to take responsibility for it. For this you must do more than say sorry; you must ask for forgiveness.

This means that even if you are in the right and actually did nothing wrong; even if the other person misinterpreted your words or actions; even if you have nothing to regret; nevertheless, if someone else is hurting—perhaps mistakenly—you need to apologize. You are not asking forgiveness for what you have done; you are asking forgiveness for any pain you may have caused.

If it were just some stranger on the street that you had hurt, then it would suffice to genuinely say “sorry” and move on. But this is a parent. You have only one set of parents, and you don’t have them forever. Whether they were the greatest parents in the world or not, they went through a lot for you. They deserve respect. Give it to them before it is too late.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Sarah Mobile , Alabama September 5, 2011

Don't Just Say Your Sorry Saying that you are sorry to a Parent you have hurt is not enough, you must mean it and show it. Be there for your Parent, show love and kindness and really care. You can not go back when it is to late, you only have one set of Parents. I was blessed to have two Parents, that I loved with all my Heart and Soul. They are both in Heaven watching me, my Heart has a big hole in it, I know that they are still with me and watching over me. I have two sibblings who would not ever say they were sorry to either of my Parents. You can say that they both are selfish and only care about theirselves. It is to late for both of them to say or show Love to my Parents. In fact they both would not even go to their own Parents Funerals. they tryed to delay my Fathers Funeral, we had the services, but my Father was not burried for over 30 Days. I still am in shock that my sibllings are so cruel and only care about money, all the money in the world cannot replace Your Parents. I wish they still with me now Reply

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