I’m sorry, but..

The other day, I was offered an apology. It wasn’t a bad one. But, I wasn’t ready to settle yet. Somehow, the apology didn’t quite, at any point during its course, exceed the threshold of my expectation. And regretfully, I had to turn it down. I have my principles. And they don’t include accepting an apology that is rendered in haste. Haste is a trait I view with suspicion. The apology that rolls off the tongue easily does not satisfy. It reflects evasiveness and flippancy, not remorse. What does it say about me when I accept apologies rather easily? I would rather not stoop and sink to the level of those who promiscuously accept the easy apologies. Once you sink down to that level, it’s just a hop, skip and jump away from the dangers of forgiveness.

A day later, the apology was re-submitted. This time, in a noticeably lengthier form. Yet, it did not satisfy. So, I held my silence. But, I felt an escalating pressure to accept it and, to use a rather crude phrase, “put the matter behind us.” Upon examination of the apology, I was satisfied this time to note that it was complete and not half-baked. It contained a high level of repeated assurance that it was meant sincerely and “in good faith.”Β Many of the apologist’s friends called in to confirm true regret on his part. There was language in his words that suggested that he (the apologist) had reflected on his act, and that it (his act) reflected “insensitivity” and that he was “distressed” by the “whole thing.”Β It was an excellent attempt. Yet, it did not rise to the level needed to overwhelm and wash away memories of original cruelty and inflicted pain. I lingered. I wondered what it would mean to accept the apology. Would it mean that I had somehow ratified his callous behavior? Would it mean that I accepted him back? No. I was not ready for that, not yet anyway. And so, I turned it down.

Disappointed, I turned instead to the comfort of musing on the nature of apology itself. Does the simple apology merit existence? Is “sorry” worth the trouble of expression? I pondered on the hurts, pains, aches, anger, disappointment and disillusionment we cause each other. When considered against the backdrop of our monumental blunders, our abject apologies seemed inadequate. So, I wondered. This reverie was interrupted by a third apology. This time, it was in the form of a note, accompanied by a fine bottle of French wine, a box of Swiss chocolates and tickets to an IPL game. Nice try, I thought. But, wait. We were not done yet. There was the note.

The note said, “I hope that you will find a way to accept this apology, which I solemnly affirm that I’m making with full possession of my mind and faculties and without reservations or conditions, and move on.” I read the note. And, I read it again. As I read it again and again, I sensed fury possessing me at what I believed was the cavalier use of the phrase “move on.” Was I being equated with a guest lingeringΒ at an overcrowded buffet table? I sensed impatience on part of the apologist to somehow evict me from this moral high ground that I had rightfully occupied after his transgression. Anger enveloped me at his audacity. And, I blacked out thereafter.

After I had recovered sufficiently, I did what I felt was best under the circumstances. I wrote back to the offender. “I’m sorry. But, I cannot accept your apology.”

24 Replies to “I’m sorry, but..”

  1. Admittedly, I do not know the nature or gravity of the offense, but as a general rule I think forgiveness isn’t so much about vindicating someone’s action as it is about doing yourself a favor. The tag line of your blog reads “Let go. Be happy” – don’t you think that’s a far better strategy?

    It is perhaps better to be slow to take offense and be quick to forgive (without regard for whether the person seeking forgiveness is doing it in earnest or not). In fact, according to Christ one should go the next step and return the offense with a favor! I’ve experimented with this strategy before and I do genuinely believe that it is just a far better way to be. I think there’s a certain freedom in forgiveness – in actually speaking the words out loud, “I forgive you”.

  2. Admittedly, I do not know the nature or gravity of the offense, but as a general rule I think forgiveness isn’t so much about vindicating someone’s action as it is about doing yourself a favor. The tag line of your blog reads “Let go. Be happy” – don’t you think that’s a far better strategy?

    It is perhaps better to be slow to take offense and be quick to forgive (without regard for whether the person seeking forgiveness is doing it in earnest or not). In fact, according to Christ one should go the next step and return the offense with a favor! I’ve experimented with this strategy before and I do genuinely believe that it is just a far better way to be. I think there’s a certain freedom in forgiveness – in actually speaking the words out loud, “I forgive you”.

  3. Hi Raj, Honored to have you reading my stuff. I was going for subtly sarcastic satire with this one, and perhaps over-did the subtlety? πŸ™‚ Of course, agree with “let go, be happy.”

    There’s delicious irony in the “I’m sorry but I cannot accept your apology” bit πŸ™‚ cheers.

  4. Hi Raj, Honored to have you reading my stuff. I was going for subtly sarcastic satire with this one, and perhaps over-did the subtlety? πŸ™‚ Of course, agree with “let go, be happy.”

    There’s delicious irony in the “I’m sorry but I cannot accept your apology” bit πŸ™‚ cheers.

  5. Cha! Guess I am a tad too dense for your blog! I unreservedly apologize! πŸ˜› I did notice the irony though but thought it’d be a bit cruel to point it out since I thought you were being bitter about the whole thing! #facepalm

  6. Cha! Guess I am a tad too dense for your blog! I unreservedly apologize! πŸ˜› I did notice the irony though but thought it’d be a bit cruel to point it out since I thought you were being bitter about the whole thing! #facepalm

  7. Raj, we don’t accept apologies around here πŸ™‚ I get the feeling that our exchange has more humor than the post itself πŸ™‚ cheers man

  8. Raj, we don’t accept apologies around here πŸ™‚ I get the feeling that our exchange has more humor than the post itself πŸ™‚ cheers man

  9. I had so many questions – it took time for me to understand this blog – I will admit. Finally when I read it again few moments ago – the meanings got clear!

  10. I had so many questions – it took time for me to understand this blog – I will admit. Finally when I read it again few moments ago – the meanings got clear!

  11. It got me thinking, What if the apologist rejects your apology about not accepting his apology? Won’t you be in the same soup as him, albeit on a lesser degree?
    I’d just say, “you get 65% for your apology mate. better luck next time.” (sincerely hoping against the possibility that he offends me again! the next time was meant for the same apology) πŸ˜›

  12. It got me thinking, What if the apologist rejects your apology about not accepting his apology? Won’t you be in the same soup as him, albeit on a lesser degree?
    I’d just say, “you get 65% for your apology mate. better luck next time.” (sincerely hoping against the possibility that he offends me again! the next time was meant for the same apology) πŸ˜›

  13. The irony was lost on me but I did feel that you were conveying something much loftier than apologies and forgiveness πŸ˜€ The exchange on the comment field is indeed very enlightening. (I wonder when I will become intelligent enough to decipher your writing?) πŸ˜€

  14. The irony was lost on me but I did feel that you were conveying something much loftier than apologies and forgiveness πŸ˜€ The exchange on the comment field is indeed very enlightening. (I wonder when I will become intelligent enough to decipher your writing?) πŸ˜€

  15. Oops. My bad. You’re not at fault here πŸ™‚ The sarcasm was too subtle, I think, to be noticed. Was hoping the last line would give it away, but alas..

  16. Oops. My bad. You’re not at fault here πŸ™‚ The sarcasm was too subtle, I think, to be noticed. Was hoping the last line would give it away, but alas..

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