There’s a growing belief in corners of our culture that admitting when you’re wrong – about anything – is a sign of weakness. It’s the view that says never apologize – for anything – no matter how wrong you were.

Dr. Bryan Loritts says it couldn’t be further from the truth, and explains that one of the most powerful gifts his dad gave him was showing him how to apologize.

“Looking back, I remember my dad’s apologies way more than what he apologized for. That had more of a profound impact on my life than almost anything else. His apologies were authentic and sincere.”

“It’s almost like, with our whole culture, we need to take everybody through a class on how to apologize. It’s not, ‘I’m sorry you took it that way’; or, ‘Sorry you heard it that way’. No! Apologies take ownership. ‘I’m sorry I spoke to you that way.’ And then they end with what I call the big ask – ‘Will you forgive me?'”

Dr. Loritts explains how a lifestyle of grace gives us the strength to apologize and to forgive.

“What you also pick up on pretty early is that, in order to have a great relationship between two very flawed people, grace needs to be a two-way street. Not only does my dad extend grace to me, but I also need to extend grace to my father.”

“And there are some people listening in, and they’ve just gone, ‘Well, my dad and I don’t have a great relationship.’ Or, ‘My child and I do not have a great relationship’. And – for some people listening – maybe one or both parties aren’t ready for that. You know, there’s a loophole to reconciliation. Paul says, ‘As best as you can, be at peace with all people.’ And I think the reason why he gives us a loophole is that Paul understands in order to have a great relationship it takes two.”

“Maybe the child isn’t ready. Maybe the dad isn’t ready, but you just do your best. Reconciliation has a loophole. Forgiveness does not. That’s Matthew 18. God wants us to forgive our dads, to forgive our kids. And I know the hurt runs deep, but – in order to have a healthy relationship – it’s got to begin.”

Dr. Bryan Loritts is an executive pastor at The Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the award-winning author of seven books – including the freshly released The Dad Difference: The 4 Most Important Gifts You Can Give to Your Kids.

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On the Road with Dr. Bryan Loritts