It happened here—a hall corner between my daughter’s and son’s bedrooms--where I tried to “train up” my children in the way they should go regarding relationships. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” I didn’t get out a “discipline rod” to resolve petty arguments, but I did use “time out” in their bedrooms before coming to this spot in the hall to apologize and ask forgiveness. At times their hugs and “sorry’s” were quite wooden, but I trusted that this discipline would reinforce truths about living God’s way. They grew up to be responsible adults with many friends.
As I thought recently about “apologies,” three powerful Bible examples came to mind.
Insincere apologies—“Sorry you had a problem about it....” As King Saul geared up for a major battle at Gilgal, he had a problem. The prophet Samuel told him to wait a week for Samuel to come and offer the proper pre-battle sacrifices. When Day 7 arrived with no Samuel in sight, Saul panicked and performed the sacred “sacrifice” of animals himself. An appalled Samuel showed up just as Saul finished. Saul’s excuse was full of “I” words, ending, “I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering” (1 Samuel 13:12). Samuel scolded him: “You acted foolishly.” From then on, Saul’s days as king were numbered.
Saul’s reaction: “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel” (v. 30). (Read that again! The nerve of it floors me!)