Religion Magazine

Making Amends

By Ldsapologetics
"These qualities are first learned in the home and family and can be practiced in all our relationships. To be guileless is to look for our own fault first. When accused, we should ask as the Savior’s Apostles did, “Lord, is it I?” (Matthew 26:22). If we listen to the answer given by the Spirit, we can, if needed, make corrections, apologize, seek forgiveness, and do better."--Robert D. Hales; Oct. 2008; Gen. Conf.--
Elder Oaks said during a recent press conference that "I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them,” Oaks said in an interview. “We sometimes look back on issues and say, ‘Maybe that was counterproductive for what we wish to achieve,’ but we look forward and not backward.”It has also been said that there is no scriptural basis for the church itself to make apologies but I find that hard to believe. And I find it hard to believe that apologies are uncalled for after so much hurt being caused by things like the priesthood ban or Prop 8.These are not abstract ideas and problems these issues have caused harm and hurt to many and has damaged families that we as the body of the church are supposed to protect. Just because some families don't meet the ideal is not cause for condemnation or discrimination.Religious freedom is not a license to discriminate and being criticized for discrimination is not persecution no matter how bad you want it to be."Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted." Ralph Waldo EmersonIt seems to me that many in our church today are dreaming that they are persecuted when they face the blowback from their earlier discriminations. They are being held to account for their words and deeds. I don't support condemnation of any kind but discrimination has no place in God's kingdom. We are to love one another as Christ loves us.And one cannot stand in judgment of another and still love them at the same time. And one certainly cannot condemn another yet love them. This is true on all sides of political, religious or cultural conflicts.But are apologies supported by scripture?

"But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." Matthew 5:22-26

The scriptures don't use a word approximating apology but they do teach us to ask forgiveness and to make amends, basically to make it right. An apology, even a sincere one, is just words. But to agree with our adversary or make amends with them and to ask for forgiveness are scriptural teachings.

When our words or actions hurt others we owe an apology, we owe it to those we've hurt to make amends to move forward. To simply look forward without acknowledging our mistakes, our missteps, and our wrong doing whether intentional or not requires us to admit our actions or words were wrong and did cause pain and damage to others. 

Part of repenting to one another requires the humility to admit we caused harm and pain to others. I find it sad that a church that is based on Christ's teachings and example refuses to make amends or apologize as a start to making amends.

If I recounted every scripture that applies to this main question we would be here all day. 

We cannot move forward without acknowledging the sins of the past. And making amends for those sins.

So maybe an apology is not Scripturally based. We are asked to do more than apologize, we are asked to make right what has gone wrong. We are taught to offer more than words. We are taught to repent and forgive and not just ask for forgiveness but to do whatever it takes to earn it.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:12-13

Making Amends


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