Whatever is only almost true is quite false, and among the most dangerous of errors, because being so near truth, it is the more likely to lead astray.
Henry Ward Beecher
I am a proud Canadian, grateful that the people of Canada are known world-wide for being polite and accepting. It is often said that Canadians are so polite that we will apologize to a table if we happen to bump into it. I have to confess that I once apologized to my own reflection when I accidentally brushed against a mirrored wall. My American friends tease me, boasting that they easily spot a Canadian not only by our ‘eh’ at the end of every sentence but by our need to apologize for everything that goes on around us. It is not our fault, although I apologize for our behaviour! It is bred into us! I vividly remember scraping my knees multiple times as a pre-schooler and my mother’s attempts to distract me from my ‘owie’ by suggesting that I consider the feelings of the poor sidewalk I assaulted. Unless I was truly injured, her little ruse never failed to get me to giggle at the absurdity of such a request, even as I offered a sniffly ‘sorry’ to the concrete. Her ruse worked just as well on her grandchildren!
In today’s world of political correctness, Canadians are beside ourselves as we find ourselves apologizing left right and center, trying to keep up with the latest terminology for a people group or a disadvantaged person. For fear of possibly offending anyone, our national and provincial laws are increasingly restricting our freedom of speech.
While pondering the Canadian condition, I felt the Lord’s gentle conviction that I apologize much too much for his liking. I felt His kind rebuke for the times that I have offered a word of apology to avoid confrontation. I would rather appease a friend and avoid their ire than speak the truth in love and risk a confrontation. Apologizing in such an instance is akin to lying and can be destructive; enabling the other party to maintain the delusion that they are rightfully entitled to their offense.
I am sure you have run across the easily offended in the supermarket, in your workplace, in your church or your home. They feel the world owes them an apology and they have difficulty in discerning what is truly an offense and what is merely an inconvenience. While God calls us to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile, I believe it is not pleasing to him when we facilitate such behavior by a hasty apology said only with the intent to placate the person in question. We are called to be humble, gentle, patient and above all – loving. However, we are to speak the truth within the confines of that love.
Ephesians 4:1-3; 14-16
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. …
…Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
For further study on the subject of offense, I strongly recommend John Bevere “The Bait of Satan”.
Until Next Week
© 2012 Katherine Walden