Claudine Phillips

What to do when they never say I am Sorry


So have you ever found yourself waiting for an apology? I mean like won’t give in until THEY say they are sorry and really really mean it kind of apology? As embarrassed as I am to admit it, I have been there, done that and don’t want to do it again.

I found myself waiting and praying for an apology from someone who had hurt me deeply. I decided to talk to her about the hurt to promote sudden regret on her part, but she deflected. Ouch.

So I went back to my corner, prayed so hard and was sure when I came up for air she would be ready to apologize. Letters would be written to me pouring out her heart with confession and regret.   Phone calls, flowers, gnashing of the teeth, you name it….pure surrender to ME.


I waited.

More Nothing.

I wasn’t giving up…I waited….


But I still waited.

Cobwebs formed at my feet.

I gave up.

My surrender had nothing to do with my lack of desire to be apologized to, that still burned. I threw in the towel because God had done something miraculous in me and so unexpected, yet perfectly Him.

He showed me that my prayers were not wasted. The more I prayed, the more of what I had done to others surfaced. The sheer pain I had caused came alive within me that my soul could not rest. I decided to start writing down the times he reminded me of what I had done and to who. The list grew quite easily.

There came a time that it was clear I was the one who must deliver the letters, phone calls, and flowers. No longer was I focused on the pain that I received, but the pain I had caused. I actually felt so dirty and unfit that to even pray for forgiveness from anyone at that point seemed futile.

I did anyway.

I found myself on my knees asking God to forgive me for my wicked ways. I petitioned for Him to give me the grace to forgive myself as well.

And He did.  We only need to ask once.

It came time to open my eyes and walk towards the carnage I single handedly created. As my fingers traced over the names of my victims, I allowed the Holy Spirit to lead in who was first. We started “small”. I ‘Facebooked’ a friend from high school and confessed. Her response was more than generous and relayed that her pastor was prompting to make things right that past weekend and my apology was not only timely, but inspired her to do the same.

As I cleaned up my mess, more friendly responses rolled in. It was gratifying to hear and read the relief that laced each conversation from both of us.

One apology, however, was completely nerve wrecking for me. Butterflies flew with each apology, but this one happened suddenly and without preparation.  Opportunity actually walked into the lobby of a city I was visiting. The chances! I am pretty sure she saw me due to her awkward glance and a gazelle like bolt to the other side of the lobby. Yes, our tussle was not good. It left us both burned. I took an enormous breathe that seemed to draw from my ankles and took just as large steps towards my prey. I am sure I scared her a little. I knew what I had to do and charged before I would turn the opposite way and run.  Once I arrived, which was in a split second that seemed like hours, we embraced like you would embrace a rotting carcass, acted surprised to see one another, did the how do you do’s, and then I got to business. With my heart racing like a locomotive, I blurted out “Remember when…” and carried on until I felt the apology was sincere and final. Her response was, “It was nothing…” as she carried on until she felt like her response was sincere and final.

Whew, that was a tough one, but it was over. On to the next.

Each apology was unique and no easier. I was bent on petitioning from the Lord everyone I had hurt. I could not bear to sit knowing I have hurt others as bad as I had been hurt, maybe even more so.

As the Lord surely answered my prayer to make it right with as many people as possible, not every apology was taken. There are a few that are still out there, lingering, waiting to be responded to, or not. Either way, I rest knowing I have been forgiven by the one that matters and they know that I know I am sorry. It was my job to make things right.

“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people—men or women—betray the Lord by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty. They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done…” Number 5:6-7

Since then, I haven’t waited for “that apology” anymore and I find that as soon as I offend, the Holy Spirit makes it impossible to live with myself until I make it right. I hope this never leaves me, never. God still shines the light on times that I have hurt others in the past and we {I} get right and make a new start each time. {So if I have hurt you and you are reading this and have not heard from me, just wait, God’s timing is always good.}

Maybe I will never get to the end of the list of my apologies, {I lived a pretty wreckless life before Jesus and I joined arm and arm}, but I know He is faithful and fills me with whatever I need for the day. I am grateful he works in me so I can just be.

So, how about you? Have you thought of a person who could receive an apology from you? Just like my first apology, you may be a part of a ripple effect of seeking forgiveness from others. Let me tell you, from my experience, it’s a heck of a lot better to go make that apology than be waiting for one that may never come.


This post was inspired by a friend and fellow blogger, Niki Sparks, that writes her beautiful heart out online so we all can experience freedom. Her post, Apology Accepted, “sparked” an idea and here we are. We invite you to join us in writing your #apologyaccepted story.  Maybe your story will spark someone to make that apology, and so on and so on…We would be grateful for you to share the love and link back to our stories as well as to use the hashtag #apologyaccepted. Use whatever social media medium you want to! Go for it! Let’s get contagious and start a love storm of forgiveness!