The ability to share and receive a message in real time over social media or livestream impacts the way we all interact with one another and with public figures. One consequence is that if a well-known person says or does something that doesn’t sit well with the general public, the public has an outlet for sharing their disappointment. This kind of backlash often leads to an apology from the offender. Some may see this as negative and controlling while others may appreciate that those with influence be held accountable for their words and actions. Either way, the public apology can be seen as a whole genre of communication, with many examples from which to study what makes an apology good or sincere or acceptable.
Here is one take on the do’s and don’ts of apologizing. What do you think?
Play the following video [1:55]:
How to Apologize (Modern Manners w/ Amy Aniobi)
- What’s an example of a good apology you’ve received or heard? What made it so? (Accept all reasonable answers. These answers might exemplify some of the traits mentioned in the video such as someone accepting responsibility or sharing how they’ll rectify their wrong.)
- What’s an example of a poor apology you’ve received or heard? What made it so? (Accept all reasonable answers; for example, using “you” language, as referenced in the video, or otherwise coming across as half-hearted or insincere.)
- When making an apology yourself, what is most difficult? (Accept all reasonable answers. Accepting responsibility for your actions can be difficult, especially if you aren’t sure what the other person’s reaction will be. Apologizing in person can also be uncomfortable.)
- Why do you think apologies are important? (Accept all reasonable answers. Apologies are good for healing, reconciliation, and progress.)
In some ways, an apology is like the Christian practice of confession. God asks us to confess our sins and promises forgiveness. We can confess personal and cultural sin. Today we’ll learn from the example of Daniel.
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
Confession can be difficult, but it is important. Confession keeps us humble and more open to God’s voice above our own. When we repent of our sin, not only does God forgive us, but also, we are given an opportunity to change our heart and behavior going forward.
- Do you practice confession? What does that look like for you? (Answers will vary. Some may include this in daily prayers, in sporadic journaling, or in worship settings. Others may have never really considered this practice before, praying mostly for God’s help.)
- Do you think the church does enough to teach about and provide opportunity for confession or could the church do more? Explain your answer. (Answers will vary and may reflect your denomination or church’s tradition. Some churches highlight it, others practice it ritually but without much commentary, and others may skip over it or come to it when the occasion calls for it. Teens may be uncomfortable with more teaching and opportunities for confession as it can be difficult or may see the importance and seek some guidance and wisdom on the topic.)
- Daniel repented on behalf of a whole nation. What do you think our culture might repent of? (Answers will vary. Students may speak to American culture at large, or to the American church, or to teens in general, or their specific peer group. Answers might range from toxic cultures of abuse, racism or other forms of bigotry and discrimination, greed, hypocrisy, hurtful words, gossip, etc.)
Hand out writing supplies. Give your students an opportunity to write out their own prayer of confession. They may write a personal one, or a confession on behalf of a group—perhaps the church, our country, teens, or their peer group. Remind them that when writing a confession for a group they are not accusing others and exempting themselves, but that they are repenting of attitudes and behavior that they and the group are guilty of together—even if it is just the behavior of a few members that was swept under the rug by the group at large. When writing this type of confession, it is helpful to name something general, such as greed or hypocrisy, and then cite a few examples. Challenge students who write a group confession to bring it to a worship leader for them to consider using in worship. This might be at Sunday school or youth group, or even the main church service, or at an external group such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes or Young Life. This could be a powerful experience to confess collective sin together, as articulated by a young person and member of the group.
Close in prayer.
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(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)