As humans, we all make mistakes. Whether intentionally or not, there are times when we hurt others with our words or actions. These offences can range from minor misunderstandings to major breaches of trust. While we all hope to be forgiven for our mistakes, it's important to consider the magnitude of our offence and the appropriate level of apology or penance required to make up for it.
In my opinion, when we commit a big offence, we need to make an even bigger apology or repentance. This is not to suggest that we should withhold forgiveness or not to accept little apologies for things you can easily let go, however, I'm of the belief that the magnitude of our apology or penance should match the magnitude of our offence.
When we apologise, we are acknowledging our wrongdoing and expressing remorse for the harm we have caused. An apology is not just a verbal acknowledgement of our mistake – it is an effort to repair the damage we have inflicted on others. However, a small apology may not be enough to make amends for a big offence.
For example, if a friend breaks a cherished possession that was passed down from a loved one, a simple “I’m sorry” may not be enough to make up for the sentimental and emotional value of the item. The apology needs to be bigger, more elaborate, and more heartfelt to show the depth of the person's remorse and effort to make amends even when it can't be brought back to its supposed state.
Similarly, when it comes to making up for a big offence, the penance required may also need to be more significant. For example, if a spouse cheats on their partner, a simple apology may not be enough to repair the damage caused to the relationship. The person may need to take steps to demonstrate their commitment to the relationship, such as attending couple counselling or making significant lifestyle changes to regain the trust of their partner.
In my view, this is not about seeking perfection or requiring an unrealistic level of penance for every mistake. It is about recognising that some offences are more significant than others and require a greater level of effort to repair the damage. This is not about “cancelling” or “shaming” someone for their mistake, but rather about creating a culture of responsibility and accountability, where people take ownership of their actions and make a genuine effort to repair the harm they have caused.
To sum up, I believe that when we commit a big offence, a bigger apology or penance is required to make amends. Small apologies may not be enough to repair the harm that has been caused, and it is important to consider the impact of our actions and make a genuine effort to acknowledge the hurt we have caused. This does not mean we should withhold forgiveness or refuse to move on from past mistakes. Rather, it is about creating a culture of responsibility and accountability, where we can grow and learn from our mistakes and work towards building stronger, healthier relationships.
It is important to understand that the effort required in making up for an offence is proportional to the gravity of the offence. Therefore, whether it is in a personal relationship or in a work setting, we should not hesitate to take adequate measures to make a bigger apology or penance for big offences. Doing so does not only show true remorse but also helps to reassure the parties involved that the offender is genuinely interested in repairing the relationship.