When Sorry Isn’t Enough … A Book Review

WhenSorryIsntEnough_1Ever have conflicts or disagreements? Ever been hurt or felt misunderstood? Do you feel burdened by bitterness over wrongs and injustices that have happened to you? You’re not alone. We all deal with feelings of hurt and betrayal, whether that which caused those feelings was done intentionally or unintentionally. And there’s only one thing that can set us free: forgiveness.

Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, and Jennifer Thomas have teamed up to release When Sorry Isn’t Enough, a revised and updated edition of The Five Languages of Apology. In the book they put forth five ways to make things right with people. Each approach is captured by a phrase that communicates apology in a unique way. Some people long to hear the words, “I’m sorry.” Others want to hear you admit you were wrong. Others want you to find a way to right your wrong through your actions. Others want to hear you say you want to change. Still others want to hear you ask for forgiveness.

As with The 5 Love Languages, each person has a primary way they communicate apology, and a way they desire to receive an apology. Apologies offered in a way (a language) that is foreign to the person receiving the apology is ineffective. We must learn the apology language of the person we are apologizing to in order to be effective in righting wrongs and restoring relationships. Forgiveness is the key to experiencing personal freedom as well as healing in relationships.

In the book Chapman and Thomas work through the how-tos of apologizing in each language. They also discuss the importance and the approach to apologizing when you don’t feel the need to, or don’t want to do so.

One area of forgiveness that is popular today is the idea of forgiving yourself, which Chapman and Thomas suggest in the book. I understand the logic of it philosophically and psychologically (if I can beat myself up and blame myself for things, why should I not also exercise self-forgiveness?), but I really struggle with the concept theologically as I personally can find no real precedent or biblical basis for it in practice. My understanding is that the Bible doesn’t call us to self-forgiveness, but rather accepting the forgiveness offered to us in Christ. An interesting dilemma perhaps they will address at some point.

Overall the book was most excellent, very informative, and really challenged my approach to the necessary practice of apology.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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