November 2015

Monthly topical artices kindly supplied by a regular visiting               

speaker from Northampton: Stan Burditt.

 

Green Pastures                 Email:- greenpasture@btinternet.com                  Listen on WWW.harbourlightradio.org 

  

 

                                                             VIEW FROM THE PULPIT                      Nov. Issue 2015

Apology       Wikipedia says of apology, ‘Two studies on apologizing are "The Five Languages of Apology" by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas and "On Apology" by Aaron Lazare. These studies indicate that effective apologies that express remorse typically include a detailed account of the offense; acknowledgment of the hurt or damage done; acceptance of the responsibility for, and ownership of, the act or omission; an explanation that recognizes one's role. As well, apologies usually include a statement or expression of regret, humility or remorse; a request for forgiveness; and an expression of a credible commitment to change or a promise that it will not happen again. Apologies may also include some form of restitution, compensation or token gesture in line with the damage that you caused. John Kleefeld has encapsulated this into "four Rs" that typically make for a fully effective apology: remorse, responsibility, resolution and reparation. When an apology is delayed, for instance if a friend has been wronged and the offending party does not apologize, the perception of the offense can compound over time. This is sometimes known as compounding remorse. Compunction refers to the act of actively expressing remorse, usually requiring the remorseful individual to physically approach the person to whom they are expressing regret.’              

 

Apology in the Oxford English Dictionary reads, ‘A regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure.’ The origin of the word from the Greek ‘apologia’, a word from two words, ‘apo’ (meaning away) and ‘logia’ (meaning a speech in one’s own defence).

 

Ex UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair’s apology for the Iraq war seems to fall well short of what a real apology is. IBT Media (UK) reported a television interview, ‘Tony Blair has finally apologised for the Iraq War. The former Prime Minister said he accepts that the conflict has been a factor in the rise of Islamic State. Blair made the startling confession during a TV interview in which he acknowledged the 'hell' that had resulted from his and George Bush's decision in 2003, to oust Saddam Hussein from power. In an interview by US political broadcaster Fareed Zakaria, Blair is asked point-blank: "Was the Iraq War a mistake?" He replies matter of factly: "I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong. I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime. Mail online reports that when asked if the Iraq War was 'the principal cause' of the rise of Islamic State, he said: "I think there are elements of truth in that. Of course you can't say those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015."Appearing remorseful he asks for public forgiveness for his failure to anticipate "what would happen once you removed the regime". His dramatic admission comes 12 years after the former Prime Minister refused to apologise for the conflict. It was recently revealed that he was challenged by former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett over the decision to go to war who warned him of the inevitable bloody aftermath. In 2007 Blair maintained his position saying: "I don't think we should be apologising at all for what we are doing in Iraq."

Sir John Chilcot has taken almost seven years and produced two million words in his report on the Iraq war which will be made public in June/July 2016. What will that report reveal, or is there a cover up in the making?

I am sure that George Bush regrets the destruction and loss of life at the Twin Towers, and Tony Blair the London bombings by Islamist terorists. Will Putin similarly regret his involvement in Syria, supporting one side of the Sunni/Shiite power struggle that has left thousands dead and a migration problem affecting the whole of Europe?

Could the destruction of a Russian flight over Sinai be connected to this uncontrollable hatred and los of life?

 

The parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke ch.15 shows us details of how an apology and forgiveness takes place. From v.11 we read,  “A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” In effect the young man said, “Dad drop dead, I want my inheritance now!” This was grossly offensive to his father and must have hurt him greatly. Some time ago I spoke to a widow lady whose daughter-in-law had said similar words to her, she said, “Mother, why don’t you drop dead, we want your money!” The ‘we’ must have included her husband and have been doubly hurtful to the mother.

The prodigal son in the far country reflected upon his state and condition, but self-pride caused him to delay going home and appologising, he got a job feeding pigs. It was when he was rock bottom that he came to himself. He realised that eating pigs food was lower than what the servants in his father’s house were provided to eat, and he decided to go back home and say sorry to his father. “He said, I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

Remorse, responsibility, resolution and reparation lay at the heart of his apology to his father. The first step of going back to say sorry is always the hardest, but it was the father who took the initiative, “His father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Remorse and regret were in the young man’s heart, he faced up to his respnsibility to his actions and wanted to put things right, but forgiveness lay in the father’s heart. He said, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Many people behave toward God  in the same way as the erant son did towards his father, but when they repent God forgives them and receives them and gives the kiss of forgiveness, the ring of sonship, the robe of salvation and shoes to walk in newness of life. God sacrificed His Son on the cross that prodigals like you and me might be forgiven and received into the family of God.

Stan Burditt