Flirting with Faith

Flirting with Faith


Can We Apologize in the Name of “Hateful” Christians? Should We?

posted by Joan Ball
A Twitter friend I met in California posted the following Tweet that got me thinking…
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The conversation that followed went like this…

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What do you think?  Can one person apologize for another? Should we?  





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Jordan Watson

posted November 27, 2010 at 11:58 pm


Joan,
Greatly enjoyed our conversation on twitter, and I’m glad to see that you opened the discussion to more people Thanks so much for your great insight and interesting questions. Love the dialogue.
In my last reply to you I tried to capture the reason I often apologize to people on behalf of Christians.
“Makes me think, if we are all apart of the same Body in Christ can one part apologize for the actions of another? Thanks for your thoughts.”
My thought process is that as Christians we are all apart of the same Body of Christ. If the arm does something and hurts another person then the mouth can speak words of healing in an apology. Or a hand can bring reconciliation where there is bitterness.
As followers of Christ we all have unintentionally hurt people, and we need others in our Body to look for opportunities to bring healing. Unfortunately, there are many Christians that intentionally wound those around us. I feel a burden to be the mouth that speaks those words of healing to those that were wounded by another part of the Body that worked in sinfulness.
When we apologize for other Christians I think we have an opportunity to represent Christ in a new way to those that have been hurt by his followers.
Thanks again for the conversation.
– jwatdot



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Faith Bogdan

posted November 28, 2010 at 12:03 am


This reminds me of the incident Don Miller wrote about in “Blue Like Jazz,” in which a “reverse confessional” was set up on the campus of Reed College one weekend. Curious students visiting the booth were moved to tears as Christians openly and honestly “confessed” the sins of intolerance, judgmentalism, bigotry, etc. on behalf of the Church universal.
To answer the question: yes, I believe we can and should (when guided by wisdom)apologize on behalf of another. Does it excuse or clear the guilty party? No. Does it minimize the wrong that was done? No. Can it be a powerful attestation to the fact that not all of us are “like that?” Is there something of redeeming value in one part of the Church owning the (often ignorant) sins of another? I believe the answer is yes.



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Gina Champagne

posted November 28, 2010 at 5:28 am


In my belief, I apologize to God for many on a daily basis. That does not help the one who is in disbelief. Everyone has their own freedom to believe or disbelieve, we can’t force the non believers to become believers they must believe and repent all on their own and from the heart. No one is perfect on this planet, we are born to sin and we will never be perfect while here on earth, that is why Jesus died on the cross, for our sins! It is how we react to our sins that wins….I can go on and on but I’m sure you can get the jist of what I’m saying…God bless all!:)



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robert gelinas (jazztheologian)

posted November 28, 2010 at 8:27 am


Nehemiah confessed the sins his people committed when he wasn’t even alive. (Nehemiah 1) So did Daniel. (Daniel 9). In the Bible, there is a long track record of God’s people “praying in the plural.” After all, Jesus taught us to pray, “forgive US our trespasses” not “forgive ME my trespasses.”
Great conversation,
robert gelinas
jazztheologian.com



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MARTIN S.

posted November 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm


Words do little to heal the
pain and wounds; love, on
the other hand overlooks
faults and covers a multitude
of sins!!



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Greg

posted November 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm


Recently wrote a blog post on the topic….
http://tamingthewolf.com/blog/the-satisfaction-of-an-apology/
Most of the time the answer would be “no” we cannot apologize for another, but we should keep in mind the need that is satisfied by the apology, as perhaps it might work in narrow cases.



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Lin

posted November 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm


When you apologize, you are telling someone you are sorry for the hurt you caused them. A true apology may include feelings of shame, remorse and a desire to make it up to the person who was hurt. If my child hurts your child (or you), I am going to apologize to you because I feel responsible for the way my child acted. I am the one who raised that child and if he is acting hurtfully, then ultimately the fault lies with me for failing to teach him better.
But! As adults we are responsible for our own actions and therefore, I cannot apologize to you for what someone else did or said. I can express sympathy (ie I am sorry that what he said made you feel bad) and I can dissociate the rest of the group from the individual (ie most christians do not feel or act that way) but I cannot apologize (ie express true regret or remorse and ask for forgiveness). Saying sorry on behalf of another adult is often about wanting to make the hurt person feel better, or about wanting them NOT to see all christians in a bad light – ie protecting the group image. But it cannot repair or restore the relationship between the original two people.
So, my gut feeling is that apologizing on behalf of another christian on the internet (which is what the original conversation related to) is an instinctive and unconscious attempt to protect the group as a whole. :-)



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nnmns

posted November 28, 2010 at 8:28 pm


Perhaps the best thing to do would be to announce you are sorry some Christians are such jerks and make clear what part of their behavior offends you.
And maybe you could shout that they don’t represent all Christians, since sometimes the press consults some real jerks to get the “Christian” opinion.



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Mr. Incredible, in the Name of Jesus, in Whom we are more than conquerors!

posted November 29, 2010 at 3:46 am


What’s a “‘hateful’ Christian”? A Christian who says some things others don’t like? Most likely.

JESUS IS LORD ! THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD OVER THE HILLS AND THROUGH THE VALLEYS, TROUNCING GIANTS !



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Smoochagator

posted November 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm


Mr. Incredible, it is possible to say something that is unpopular without being unkind. Some Christians are truly hateful in their treatment of others, believers and non-believers alike.
I don’t think the idea of repenting for the unrepentant is something we’re unfamiliar with. In recent years, leaders of countries or ethnic groups that have committed great sins against their fellow men have apologized for sins they themselves never committed – things that happened, perhaps, before they were even born. As representatives of a certain group, they have repented for their group’s sins, to publicly recognize the sins that were committed and facilitate peace in the future.
Another Christian’s sin is, ultimately, between that person and God. I won’t pay the price for the sin in eternity. However, I pay the price for it in THIS life, because hateful things done and said in the name of God cause discord in the Body of Christ and impede the work of God in this world. For that reason, I do apologize for the ways that many Christians have hurt others, because as part of the body of Christ, that sin is just as much my responsibility as it is the person who actually committed it.



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Hilary Chaney

posted November 30, 2010 at 4:02 pm


Joan, I am enjoying your blog. See my latest post on the truth about the Da Vinci code. Those who hope will like it. http://graduatingfromgod.blogspot.com/



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Mark Baker-Wright

posted December 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm


Interesting discussion (which, of course, I’m finding a few days late). I note the comments before which, as I read them, point out that, if a person apologizes, that person is accepting responsibility for pain caused to another person.
It would then seem to follow that, if a person is apologizing for the actions of another, than the person apologizing is accepting the responsibility of that other person’s actions.
I am torn on this reflection. On one hand, I agree that ultimate responsibility must lie with those who committed the original (pain-causing) action. Yet it seems to me that the observation that we are all part of the same “body of Christ” is a fair one, as well. Our actions (as members of this same body) affect each other. Surely we do bear some responsibility for the actions of our brothers and sisters–if not directly, we still have a responsibility to work toward healing and education (so that such pain-causing actions are not committed by those we call “brothers and sisters” in the future).
But, there is also this element of the apology being over the internet. That is, to people who we likely do not know and/or will have no future connection with. How much power do we actually have to promote healing and education in this context?



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nbvcnbvn

posted December 4, 2010 at 9:23 am


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Mr. Incredible, in the Name of Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords!

posted December 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm


Smoochagator
Mr. Incredible, it is possible to say something that is unpopular without being unkind. Some Christians are truly hateful in their treatment of others, believers and non-believers alike.
Mr. Incredible says:
2 Corinthians 11:6



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Greg H

posted December 8, 2010 at 7:28 am


As a fellow writer standing at the boundary between Christians and skeptics (http://www.bettieyoungsbooks.com/authors/GregHunt/index.htm), I appreciated this brief post!



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Andrew

posted December 20, 2010 at 1:25 am


Ugg Australia story began in 1978, when Brian Smith, a young surfer from Australia, took a trip to the United Sates with a bag full of sheepskin boots – UGG Boots.Nowadays Ugg sale is the best popular sheepskin boots loved by people from all over the world.



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Catullus

posted December 31, 2010 at 1:49 am


“Should We Apologize in the Name of “Hateful” Christians?”
Absolutely not. All of us have to take responsibility for our own actions, for our own behavior. The most one can do is to try to convince hateful people that it doesn’t pay to be hateful. Beyond that, it is out of our hands.



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