If you want to make a confession utterly worthless, use one of these three phrases.
â€œIâ€™m sorry if Iâ€™ve done something to upset you.â€
When you use these words, what people hear is, â€œI donâ€™t know that Iâ€™ve done anything wrong, but since youâ€™re obviously upset, hereâ€™s a token apology to get you off my back. By the way, since I donâ€™t see that Iâ€™ve done anything wrong, I have no idea how I may need to change. So itâ€™s only a matter of time before I do the same thing again.â€
When you use these words, what people hear is, â€œI did not deliberately set out to hurt you. But since you are of little value to me, I made no deliberate effort to avoid hurting you either.â€
â€œIt wasnâ€™t personal.â€
When you use these words, what people hear is, â€œIt wasnâ€™t personal to me, and since we have no real relationship, it makes no difference to me that it impacted you personally.â€
These are probably not the messages you intend to communicate. But if you use thoughtless words like these, youâ€™re usually sending the message that a particular relationship is of little value to you.
Therefore, these phrases are not only confession killers but also relationship killers. Get rid of them today.
– Ken Sande
â€¢ What can you say if you sense that youâ€™ve offended someone but truly donâ€™t understand what you may have done wrong?
â€¢ Jesus says we will have to give an account someday even for our â€œcareless wordsâ€ (Matt. 12:36). What commandments do we violate if we speak or act thoughtlessly toward others (Matt. 7:12; Matt. 22:39; Eph. 4:29).
To learn more about how to make a thoughtful, thorough, and healing confession, see the Seven Aâ€™s of Confession.
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like. If you wish to adapt the questions to better suit your group, please include a parenthetical note (Questions adapted with permission of RW360) and send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Â© 2013 Ken Sande
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