“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. ” Paul Boese
A significant increase in public apologies over the past months could be seen as a positive trend.
We saw the most senior leader of this country apologizing to the American public: “I screwed up.” We watched two prominent athletes A-Rod and Michael Phelps issue painful apologies to their fans.
We saw four bosses of British banks saying sorry to the Treasury Select Committee, and watched Japan’s Finance Minister announce his resignation along with a formal mea culpa.
And finally, in the last couple of weeks we heard the words of regret from Rupert Murdoch and Bishop Richard Williamson.
And yet many of these highly visible apologies failed to earn public forgiveness. Some were criticized for being too shallow and insincere, others could be hardly recognized as apologies at all.
So, what does it take to make an effective apology that comes across as true and genuine? And what are some examples of ineffective apologies that failed to resolve conflicts or earn forgiveness?