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How to Apologize to Someone You Hurt

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We all hurt others.  How can we apologize and make it right with someone when we mess up and lose it and shout?  What about when we place negative labels on someone?  How can we restore the broken relationship and rebuild trust?

Watch this podcast episode to hear how to apologize to someone you hurt.


What is the reason why we give negative labels to our children or students?  Why do we get into arguments and strife with family members?  Why do people annoy us or our children frustrate us?

Is it because our children behave in a way that we don’t like or we can’t control or we think makes us look like a bad parent?

Maybe we see something in someone’s life whether it be behavior, choices they are making, paths they are walking down, or friends they are choosing that we know will hurt them.  We don’t want that in their life, but we don’t know how to change it.

Could it be that they are a totally opposite personality to us so they rub us the wrong way? Or we don’t see eye to eye on a topic.

Have you ever said or felt any of these ways before with your children, your spouse, your family members, or friends? No wonder strife and arguments happen and we hurt people, especially those closest to us.


Bailey began sharing her story with us in Episode 83 called Stop Labeling Children: How Negative Labels Hurt. In this episode, she share more about how easily we hurt other people with our words when we could choose to love them. Why is it that we don’t love others like Jesus loves us? Is it that we are afraid?


Start by saying, “Please forgive me for __tell how you hurt them__.” 

Say, “I take full responsibility for __say whatever you took part in that could have hurt your child, husband, friend, or family member__.” 

Clearly tell them “this is what I did wrong or this is what I did that hurt you. This is the pain that I believe I put you through because of what I did.”  Ask for feedback.  “Did I identify and understand the pain you went through?”

“The truth is __share something that you like about them__.”

“I was wrong.  Will you forgive me?”

Altogether, it could sound like this: “Please forgive me, son.  I dishonored you when I shouted about cleaning up the Lego.  I take full responsibility for hurting you and passing my frustration on to you.  It was wrong of me to treat you unkindly by shouting at you.  Will you forgive me?” Go deeper by asking, “How did you feel when I shouted at you?” to understand their heart and how they felt and if there is more there that needs to be forgiven.

Express your sincere desire and intention to change your behavior and to not bring this pain into the relationship in the future.  Then follow through with a diligent effort to change.  We are human and it takes intention to change a default response or habit, but make that effort.

You want your words to count to your children and your husband or family member.   If you don’t work to change, you will only disappoint them again and betray their trust in you. Humbling yourself and asking for forgiveness is the greatest step toward restoring a hurt relationship.


Don’t attack the other person

Watch your words. If you are about to say, “I wouldn’t have done it that way.”  Stop! “What were you thinking?”  Stop!  Don’t say it.  Don’t attack with your words.

“How could you be so blind?  Can’t you see? It’s obvious that’s not the right thing to do or the right way to do it.” “How could you do that to me?” “Are you asking me because you genuinely care or are you criticizing me?” “Do you care enough to help me?” “You never…You always….” “You are such a ___insert negative label___.”

All of those words attack and hurt. Even in the moment of frustration, annoyance, anger, or misunderstanding, don’t attack with your words.  Words are not your ammunition.

Instead Stop! and CHOOSE TO RESPOND RIGHT.  “I will respond right in this.  No matter how angry I feel right now.  I will choose to honor the other person.”

Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.  James 1:19-20

You win when you take all of that hurt energy you feel and put it toward resolving the real problem instead of attacking the person. 

Do All You Can to Understand the Other Person 

Try to understand the other person’s heart when addressing an issue with them. Hear them out fully without interrupting.  Ask clarifying questions to learn all of the facts.

It can sound like:  “Would you share with me what you were thinking when you did this?” “Help me to understand how come you….” “Tell me more about how come you…..”

Then paraphrase what they said to check that you understood well. 

Check Your Perspective

One of the biggest ways you can stop using negative labels is to change your lenses.  See people for their potential not according to their past or current mistakes.

Understand that we are all on a journey, growing and learning.  Your spouse may not be where you are yet in your growth journey.  You may not be where your spouse is.  Your children are children.   Give grace.  You can benefit from their strengths and honor them for trying.  Look for the gold in them and speak it out. 

Approach your conflict and strife as an opportunity for you both to grow.

And the Lord’s servants must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition.  II Timothy 2:24-26

Be the First to Step Toward Reconciliation

If you sense miscommunication, or your guard is up, or your spouse is defending himself, conflict has happened. When there’s a cold shoulder, or silence or offence, call it out with the goal of reconciliation. Say, “I could be totally wrong about this, but I’m sensing that you are upset.  Did I say something or do something to hurt you?”

Go first to make things right and to end strife.  Be quick to reconcile refusing to give in to pride and self-righteousness. 

The beginning of strife is like letting out water.  So I abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.  Proverbs 17:14

Speak directly to the person first in an effort to reconcile as your conflict is between you and them. If he doesn’t listen, then take one or two more with you in an effort to resolve the conflict and to restore the relationship.

Look for the Right Time to Talk

Be sensitive to the right time to talk so that you can hear each other fully and honor each other and come to an agreement.

The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as good apples in a silver bowl.  The warning of a wise person is valuable to someone who will listen.  It is worth as much as gold earrings or fine gold jewelry.  Proverbs 25:11-12 ICB and Proverbs 15:23

Find the Right Words to Say

To find the right words to say, ask yourself, “How can I bring this up with my spouse or my child in a way that they will receive well and take to heart?” “How can I give grace and speak the truth in love here?  How can I show kindness?”

It’s not about what you have to say or giving them a piece of your mind.  It’s about helping the other grow and become better, more mature with deeper character, and unity in your home.

When you talk with them, do not say harmful things.   Keep it to the point.  Stay away from blaming. 

Edify them and say words that will help others become stronger.  Ephesians 4:29 ICB

When talking to your spouse, say something like, “I know you care about me and the children.  I am grateful for you.  I love you.  Let’s be on the same page on this… or For the sake of our family and unity… or What do you think we can do about this…”

Also watch your non-verbal communication.  Use the right tone of voice and the right body language.  You can say all the right words but tell a different story with your tone of voice and body language.

Apologizing to Someone You Hurt Restores a Relationship

We have all been in moments of miscommunication or said words that we wish after the fact that we could take back.  Maybe you have said words fully intending to harm because you were so angry. But it doesn’t turn out good, does it? Asking for forgiveness and seeking to reconcile the relationship is the best step to take.


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Mama, I am here for you if you need help breaking off the negative labels spoken over you as a child? You know that they are holding you back, but you can’t change the negative, critical tape that is replaying in your mind no matter how hard you try. If that’s you, then go now to  I can help you root out lies from negative labels and help you to replace them with a truth filled identity.

Go to Renewed Mama Coaching and book your first coaching session now.  Sometimes, all you need is someone else to talk to. A small mindset shift can unlock a renewed identity for you.

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