I was struck yesterday by Virginia Foxx's lack of apology, apology. Her words were to the effect of, "I apologize IF."
There are two words that never belong in apology.
The first word is 'if.'
When we hurt another person, we hurt the person. A proper apology is this: "I apologize that I hurt you." When you say like this, "I apologize IF I hurt you," now the emphasis is on the response of the person who was hurt. It is their responsibility now to take ownership of the issue. If a person is hurt, they are hurt. Just say "I am sorry," and be done with it. I think it's often helpful to add that 'it wasn't my intention to hurt you' because most often when we hurt others, we really don't intend to do so. Often we say or do things in the heat of the moment or in the heat of a response that gets carried away. What made Virginia Foxx's comments so incredibly awful was that they were prepared remarks and untrue. It makes you wonder if her parents taught her manners. Her words sounded like she was raised by Tarzan and seven of his apes.
The other lethal word in an apology is the word 'but.' And it is usually a very big but in the middle of a sentence. (Pun intended!)
When we say, "I am sorry, but....," this is no longer an apology but a justification pretending to be an apology. "I am sorry for wrecking your car when I was driving drunk, BUT you did ask me to drive your car home from downtown."
"I am sorry for punching you in the mouth, BUT it was your mouth in the way of my flying fist."
"I am sorry I humiliated you BUT I am a Christian and it's all God's fault." (This one shows up in a lot of various forms----misbehaving and blaming our cruel remarks on God.) "God told my heart to tell you that you are a terrible human being. Don't blame me. God told me to tell you that!!!" Grr.
Virginia Foxx is not the first person in need of apologizing properly and will not be the last. As a society, however, we need lessons in learning to apologize and in learning to say, "I am sorry," and ending the sentence before we mess it up.