And I’m not referring to the Hollywood half-apologies that strongly rely on the word “if.” A genuine apology takes ownership of the burden we placed on another that they should’ve never had to bear. A genuine apology can soften the ground for real healing in a hurting heart. The truth and ownership of wrong doing can help a mind stop struggling or cycling on the “What did I do wrong?” thoughts that haunt us.

And because we are all human, we will all make mistakes. Because we have strong emotions, we will say things out of spite and arrogance. Our words will become gasoline on a burning building.

When we recognize the pain we’ve caused, we can choose to ignore our part, or we can choose to be humble. We can choose to blame others for how they made us feel or we can choose to take full responsibility for our actions. We often try to teach our children and students this lesson, but all of us have seen that many adults still struggle in this very process. It’s not an issue tied to age. It’s an issue tied to the conditions of our hearts and spirits.

Could you imagine the wave of healing that would begin in our communities if we liked, shared, or retweeted the humble words of a leader who took responsibility for unchecked power? No one is above a sincere apology. No one is above taking the blame for their part. No one is too good to start the peace process, and we can only imagine what it be like if our leaders all admitted that they have been wrong and then explained a path that would move us all forward out of the ashes of our burning cities.

You see, with true humility, action will follow. Words run hollow when behavior doesn’t change. Spirits are damaged deeply when apologies become more lies.

Honesty and deep reflection for our own actions is an important place to start. Courage to change will follow.

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