How often did you say you were sorry this week? Was it to family, co-workers, or perfect strangers?
Apologies can take many forms:
Passive-aggressive: I'm sorry you're offended.
Over-aggressive: I'm sorry, but you're a jerk.
Genuine: I'm sorry.
There are others of course, in the vast spectrum of contrition. In Japan, for example, there are over twenty words or phrases that convey an apology. One story I found describes two Japanese women apologizing to men who were lost and broke into their home - they apologized because they could not better assist the men in finding their actual destination.
In America, our apologies are more contingent upon accepting wrong doing. Instead of a sign of humility and honor, apologies are a sign of weakness. Apologies are an admission of guilt, and lately, I feel there has been a lack of personal accountability.
So, how is anyone supposed to apologize if everyone insists the blame is always on the other party?
Study the Facts AND the Context
Introverts are either sensors or intuitives. Sensors often look at the facts without context and intuitives observe the opposite. Facts without context make Introverted Sensors stubborn, and context without facts, make Introverted Intuitives appear flippant. When mending fences, BOTH should be considered.
I'm not saying grab the hand of complete strangers, but when you need to repair a damaged relationship with someone you love, you need to pray for and with each other. It doesn't have to be profound, fancy, or in old English. We are taught how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Be thankful and express the desire for forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and lead your understanding of the rift between you.
Get a Mediator
You don't have to follow Robert's Rules of Order, cool as that would be, but the Bible does suggest we grab the attention of a third party to hear out the dispute. Matthew 18:15-16 (greatly paraphrased) says if your brother sins against you, talk it out, but if you cannot resolve it, get two or three to hear it out and bring him to contrition. Don't be surprised when in doing so, you are also brought to your knees. Don't be blinded by the plank in your eye, lest your mediator yank it out for you.
Ask: Do I Want to be Right or Do I want My Relationship Back?
"But it's the principle of it," screams the J's, (Judgers). Perhaps, but Jesus calls us to something better, right? He asks us, What's being right got to do with it? Romans 12:17 says, "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men." And Matthew 5:46, "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" (NIV) If being right stands in the way of repairing the relationship, then perhaps it's not ready for mending. Maybe the heart is in more dire need of repair than the relationship. In this case, the only remedy is time with Jesus and in the Word before a genuine apology can be given or accepted.
Introverts are famous for hording a few or less tightly held friendships. Why would we waste one on sheer stubbornness, pride, or aloofness? If there is a crack in your marriage, family, or friendships, make the necessary repairs, before the crack turns into a pothole.
What apology stands in the way of you and a relationship you hold dear? Have you examined any cracks for an apologetic mend?