If you want to make a confession utterly worthless, use one of these three phrases.
“I’m sorry if I’ve done something to upset you.”
When you use these words, what people hear is, “I don’t know that I’ve done anything wrong, but since you’re obviously upset, here’s a token apology to get you off my back. By the way, since I don’t see that I’ve done anything wrong, I have no idea how I may need to change. So it’s only a matter of time before I do the same thing again.”
When you use these words, what people hear is, “I did not deliberately set out to hurt you. But since you are of little value to me, I made no deliberate effort to avoid hurting you either.”
“It wasn’t personal.”
When you use these words, what people hear is, “It wasn’t personal to me, and since we have no real relationship, it makes no difference to me that it impacted you personally.”
These are probably not the messages you intend to communicate. But if you use thoughtless words like these, you’re usually sending the message that a particular relationship is of little value to you.
Therefore, these phrases are not only confession killers but also relationship killers. Get rid of them today.
– Ken Sande
• What can you say if you sense that you’ve offended someone but truly don’t understand what you may have done wrong?
• Jesus says we will have to give an account someday even for our “careless words” (Matt. 12:36). What commandments do we violate if we speak or act thoughtlessly toward others (Matt. 7:12; Matt. 22:39; Eph. 4:29).
To learn more about how to make a thoughtful, thorough, and healing confession, see the Seven A’s of Confession.
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© 2013 Ken Sande
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