When it comes to Accepting Responsibility, it scored the lowest on my results, coming in at a whopping score of a 2 from the 5 Languages of Apology Quiz by Gary Chapman. I know for some of you, it may have been number one if not among your top 3. Looking at my results and reading the description of all of the categories, I can understand why this score was so far away from my top result, Expressing Regret. But back to Accepting Responsibility!
Gary Chapman states that if the apology neglects accepting responsibility for their actions, many partners will not feel as though the apology was meaningful and sincere. Many partners need to learn how to overcome their ego, the desire to not be viewed as a failure, and simply admit that their actions were wrong. If an apology does not admit fault, it is not worth hearing. Being sincere in your apology means allowing yourself to be weak, and admitting that you make mistakes. Though this may be hard to do for some people, it makes a world of a difference to your partner who speaks this language (Chapman, 2013).
Being that hearing from those that have hurt or offended me is not one of my languages of apology, I know that accepting responsibility is something that I must personally use in order to forgive myself, not others. It may be vice versa for you but at the end of the day, no one can address the need for forgiveness to be administered unless the key players and motives are presented and taken into account. Taking into account the key players, those who were involved in the situation, this would not be the time to point fingers nor the time to throw your judgment around. This is not a time to run away from the hurt or the fact that you feel betrayed – your feelings are justified. You have to confront it all and look outside of your feelings and what you think you see.
Before you can request, or even require, that anyone accepts responsibility for the things that they have done to you, you must stand in the mirror and take the roll call of the things that you have done and accept YOUR responsibility in the given situation. If you do not accept your own responsibility when someone comes to you accepting their responsibility to build what was breached, you will have the ability to justify your choice defense mechanisms and hold your offense over their head. Your lack of self-reflection will cause an injection of pride and the beginning stages of superiority to be infused within your relationship. You will never fully trust their olive branch but will patiently wait for the opportune time to chop it down and bring up their offense to disable them. You will become an enemy destined to cause hurt and pain...only to start the cycle again.
A perfect example of accepting responsibility is the account of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). He basically wished his father dead and demanded that his father give him his inheritance. Doing this had to hurt his father to the core but He willingly gave it to him. It took him a while but the reality of his actions caught up with him and while we were in a far away land he came to himself. He remembered that he could go back to his father and say, “…I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants…” (Luke 15:18-19). The thing is he took personal responsibility for the hurt that he realized he had caused to his father and looking at the context of the scripture, his entire household was affected as well. He didn’t blame the people who helped him spend the money, he didn’t blame the pigs that he was laying with, he didn’t blame his father not even his brother. He took a long look at himself and accepted his responsibility and went back. His brother, on the other hand, blamed him and became jealous of the overwhelming welcome that His father gave his brother. (More on this perception to come within the series).
This young man had to forgive himself to even get up and go back and face his father. Which leads us to our first exercise.
First of all, stand in a mirror and apologize to yourself. This can be a blank apology at first, we will move into an area of focus next.
Think of a situation(s) that has happened to you in the last 3 months that you have or have not administered a wholehearted apology.
First, ask yourself, What situations have you, personally, not accepted responsibility for that has held your justification of treating others in an unhealthy way?
Why is accepting the responsibility of my own actions hard for me within the situation(s)? (Do your best to answer this with little to no emotional ties to the situation).
Do you fully accept your role in the motives behind your actions?
If you were on the other side of the mirror (your reflection), would you accept your apology?
Heavenly Father, You are great in all of your ways and I am humbled that you would welcome me back into Your arms after I have caused You pain knowingly and unknowingly. It is my prayer that you show me the areas of my life and heart that I need to forgive myself. I thank You for the strength to endure and push past the pain that may arise due to me suppressing it and not dealing with it head-on. I thank You for Your grace to complete this heart check in order to be the servant you have called me to be. I want to be an example of Your transforming love by genuinely loving myself from the inside out. Your will be done. I release control of this process.
In Jesus Name I pray,