The Un-acceptance of Apologies

Forgiveness is a sham.

Yeah…I said it.

The older I get, the more I realize that the only being capable of true forgiveness is Jesus. (y’all know I’m Christian, don’t trip.)

And as you sit there slightly wide eyed, with your pearls clutched in your hand, waiting for me to do my ever famous right turn into the humor portion of this post that ultimately evolves into a tale of morality…news flash: it won’t.

Over the past several years I’ve observed that outrage outweighs…everything. According to our society now, people don’t change, every intent is malicious, and nobody misinterprets or misunderstands anything,

And it doesn’t matter if someone is genuinely sorry. It doesn’t matter if they immediately acknowledge that they’ve done something wrong, or even admit that they didn’t realize they were doing anything wrong. It doesn’t matter if it was ten years ago when they were in there twenties and nobody was making good decisions, or in a time frame where it was “a good idea at the time.” Nope. There is no room for forgiveness.

And before you crack your knuckles to type me some angrily worded letter filled with hashtagged examples of why I’m out of line…I’m not talking about egregious acts of depravity. I’m not talking about the incidents that have stolen the innocence of some, or stolen the family members of others. I’m not talking about actions that have upturned entire cultures, or even altered the course of human history…

I’m talking about moments where a brief lapse in judgment resulted in an expletive producing “ah-ha!” moment later.

And we’re living in a time where even if the person committing the offense realizes their infraction, and is regretful that they actually did it, (not regretful they got caught) it doesn’t matter. Ultimately everyone comes to the agreement that their “sorry wasn’t sorry enough,” or their “sorry wasn’t worded correctly,” or their “sorry was too late,” or my personal favorite, you could “tell they weren’t really sorry.”

…because we’re all capable of knowing someone’s true intentions even if we don’t know them personally.

Right?

And why does such a mob mentality in our society genuinely frighten me?

Because I’m human. Because I make mistakes. Because I’m flawed. Because in my 38 years on this Earth I have, or will offend someone…I have or will hurt someone’s feelings…I have or will say or do something that will cause someone a pain I wasn’t intending….

And none of me will mean it. None of me would ever dream about committing such a horrible moment in someone’s day. None of me would ever dare wake up one morning with the goal to ruin someone’s life….nor have I ever.

And all of me would apologize…

And yet…I’m terrified that I’m one screenshot away, one hashtagged distance from, one social media post beyond becoming a pariah…a reject….a cautionary tale on the bottom of society’s shoe that everyone else is allowed to learn from except me.

And so are you…

“But Danita,” you’ll say, “people know the real you/me. And the people that know the real you/me will know that you/I would never do what we’re accused of. Folk that know you/me will defend us.”

Do they?

Will they?

You sure about that?

Truth be told, forgiveness en masse, and it’s always “en masse,” doesn’t exist. The anger and outrage reaches a fever pitch, and then it dies down…and then people move on to something else.

Meanwhile, people’s whole lives are derailed over a meme, a thirty-second moment, a misguided tweet…because their “sorry” was rejected before it was ever uttered.

Nobody is forgiven anymore because nobody accepts apologies anymore.

If this is our new normal, I guess we’ll have to shrug and be OK with it. We’ll have to be OK that that we are all living an arms length from being the person that is vilified… no matter how much we say and mean we’re sorry.

And if you’re that person reading this and saying, “Well, Danita, apologies are empty anyway.” That’s fine…

…but if apologies don’t matter, do me a solid…

Stop demanding them.

You know I’m right.

-Danita LaShelle

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