Sincere apologies are for those that make them, not for those to whom they are made. This is very true.
What with the story that has been trending after a well-respected preacher Dr Shingi Munyeza’s apology statement that did not contain the magic words “I am sorry”?
I have followed the saga unfolding after the preacher and businessman got outed by his daughter for his alleged immorality. The daughter spilt the beans, exposing her father’s infidelity.
The misfortune was sparked by an earlier Facebook post in which the Borrowdale Christian Centre (Faith Ministries) senior pastor and former president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe congratulated self and wife on the occasion of their 26th anniversary.
What was intended to draw social applause was however met with long-harboured bitterness by Munyeza’s daughter, Nomsa, who then confronted her father in a cheeky Facebook reply over the latter’s adulterous relationship. She told the man of cloth it was improper for him to shower her mother with anniversary messages when he was cheating on the same woman, and went on to demand that he deletes the messages.
The public exchange left the preacher with no choice but to step down from leading his church. He issued a fifty words apology in a statement that seemed rushed. Noteworthy, it did not contain the words ‘I am sorry’ despite him seeking forgiveness for failing his family and his church for what he described as “allowing himself into a situation where he fell morally”
“Recently I allowed myself into a situation where I fell morally. I failed my wife and family. I failed the church that I am part of. I therefore seek your forgiveness. I am stepping down to introspect and be restored. I covet your prayers and support,” read the message by the cleric.
Admittedly it is one thing acknowledging you are in the wrong and it is another to say I am sorry. It seems so silly, really. I mean, it’s only three tiny words (I am sorry). How can something so small be so powerful and yet so difficult to say?
Well, there have been various scientific studies on the power of apologising (genuinely saying I am sorry), which have demonstrated that when those wronged receive an apology from an offender, they develop empathy toward that person, which later develops more quickly into forgiveness. This is due to the fact that when those wronged receive an apology, they feel that our offender recognizes their pain and is willing to help them heal. Often times those simple words are worth more than a lifetime of excuses and explanations.
Conversely learning to apologize is the first and most important step in the healing process. Not only does it show the recipient that you acknowledge their right to feel hurt, but it opens the way to forgiveness. I am sure Dr Munyeza has apologised to his wife and to his daughter first and foremost and that he is doing all he can to remedy the situation.
Indeed, an apology cannot undo what has been done, but it can help ease the pain and tension of the aftermath. It gives hope for rebuilding and puts value on the relationship rather than the individual’s pride.
We may never get to understand the situation that drove his daughter to publicly out her father in the manner that she did. Indeed, we may all hold differing views on the daughter’s actions. Some will approve as will some disapprove. But such is life.
Sometimes people don’t even realize the hurt they are creating around them by failing to take responsibility for their actions. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s someone you know, but everyone knows someone who has suffered from this at some time.
Timing when to say the magic words (I am sorry) is an important aspect to keep in mind because sometimes the other person might not be ready to accept your apology. Sometimes we need to allow time to heal the wounds a little bit before we come forward to say “I’m sorry.”
One would hope that Dr Munyeza and his daughter will reconcile sooner rather than later.
We should all learn something from this. It is my hope that lessons that will make us better people and collectively better communities can be drawn from this saga. I would like to believe that we’ve reached a day and age where showing emotional vulnerability can be viewed as a positive rather than a negative quality.
People are becoming more aware of ideas like empathy and sensitivity, and everywhere we are being encouraged to talk about our feelings, to seek help, and to connect with others. Gone are the days of keeping everything bottled up inside to suffer alone.
As we move forward in this time of self-knowledge and self-discovery, it’s vital to acquire the ability to recognize our own mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and we all will do something to hurt another person at some point in our lives. Our preachers and religious leaders are human too and yes, here and there, they will for lack of a better phrase ‘allow themselves into situations where they fail morally’. The difference, however, lies in acknowledging that we have done something wrong.
Let’s learn to say sorry with sincerity. Let us choose the path of humility. Choose the path of healing. Choose love above pride. Choose to apologize.
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