What the Bible Says About Apologizing

JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

The Bible tells us a lot about apologizing and confessing our sins. Learning about the consequences of sins and the harm we do to others leads us to why apologizing is important. Here is what the Bible has to say about apologizing.

Examples of Apologizing in the Bible

Jonah disobeyed God and spent time in the belly of a whale until he apologized. Job apologized to God for sins he did not know he had committed. Joseph's brothers apologized to him for selling him into slavery. In each case, we learn that there is an importance of adhering to God's plan. We also learn that God is very forgiving, and people should strive to following in God's footsteps. Yet apologizing is a way of confessing our sins, which is an important part of our daily Christian walk.

Why We Apologize

Apologizing is a way of recognizing our sins. It has a way of clearing the air between people and between us and God. When we apologize, we look for forgiveness for our sins. Sometimes it means apologizing to God for the ways we have wronged Him. Sometimes it means apologizing to people for what we have done to them. However, in no way can we expect forgiveness right away for the sins we have committed toward others. Sometimes we also have to be patient and allow other people to get over it. Meanwhile, God can forgive us whether we ask or not, but it is still our responsibility to ask for it.

1 John 4:7-8 - Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (NIV)

1 John 2:3-6 - When we obey God, we are sure that we know him.  But if we claim to know him and don’t obey him, we are lying and the truth isn’t in our hearts.  We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him.  If we say we are his, we must follow the example of Christ. (CEV)

1 John 2:12 - Children, I am writing you, because your sins have been forgiven in the name of Christ. (CEV)

Confessing Your Sins

Confessing our sins isn't always easy. We don't always like to admit when we're wrong, but it is all part of the cleansing process. We should try to confess our sins as soon as we recognize them, but sometimes it takes a while. We should also try to apologize as soon as possible to others. It does mean swelling our pride and letting go of our own inhibitions or fears. We are responsible to one another and to God, and we have to live up to that responsibility. Also, the sooner we confess our sins and wrongdoings, the sooner we can move on from it.

James 5:16 - Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (NLT)

Matthew 5:23-24 - So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (NLT)

1 John 2:16 - Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father. (CEV)