Thank you and Sorry

29 Sep

The Bible is very clear about the power of speech to do great good or evil.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

We can use words to give life, to heal, and to edify one another. But if we’re not careful, we may use words wrongly and end up hurting others.

J commented that I say ‘Thank you’ and ‘Sorry’ far too often. It makes her feel that I’m being too polite, even to the extent of formal. I contemplated about this as I went on my way to meet K.

Am I holding people at a distance when I thank them to show my appreciation? Or when I apologise for having caused them problems or unhappiness?

When I met K,  I was, again, reminded that words have power. K had to write an apology letter and he asked me to compose it together with him. As Edward George Bulwer Lytton wrote in 1839, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” We should word the apology letter carefully.

As K and I discussed about what had happened and how to write the letter, K pointed out that he didn’t want to give further explanation for the mistake he had made. He admitted that he was in the wrong and at this point, he felt that any valid reason he may have, would sound like a lame excuse for the mistake.

We proceeded to compose a very concise, almost a matter of fact, letter.

After reading through the letter, K felt that the letter didn’t express any sign of regret for the mistake he had made. We added another sentence.

Reflecting on K’s attitude towards writing the apology letter, I learnt so much.

It’s not easy to say sorry willingly as it takes humility to admit one’s mistake. And, it takes more humility to apologise sincerely. It’s also important to let the other person know that you really meant what you said, and will not commit the same mistake again.

Whether it’s to express gratitude or to express apology, mere words carry no weight unless accompanied by actions.

My prayer today is “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) Watch over my tongue and my heart, and teach me to say what I mean, and to mean what I say.

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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Scribbles


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