Duly Noted And Acknowledged

It may seem odd that someone who has received so little in the way of apologies as I have would feel such a compulsive need to write apology notes, among the larger body of my fairly compulsive writing. It certainly strikes me as odd, but although I dislike the large gap between the sorts of apology notes I give and the striking lack of apology notes that I have tended to receive, I still feel the compulsion to treat others as I would like to be treated, and not always the way I have been treated, either by them or by others. This compulsion remains even though my own personal history in writing apology notes [1] has not necessarily gone very well, with at least one of my relatively recent efforts being mistakenly confused for a love letter, which caused a great deal of unpleasant complications that merely added to the offense that I had been apologizing about, however clumsily and awkwardly. When it comes to writing apology notes, I am of the belief that they must be written as a debt of honor duly noted and acknowledged, regardless of how they are taken and how successful they are in any tactical or strategic sense. Sometimes something must be done for the sake of duty, and one can hope but cannot count on there being profit in it.

What sort of debt of honor prompts me to feel a compulsion to write an apology note in the first place? Let us give the example of the note that I am struggling to write as we speak. Shortly after moving to the Portland area, and realizing that a convenient source to borrow music from a large music library was nearby, I requested three copies of a particular piece of music, “Canon Of Praise,” which I had sung as part of the ABC Choir in 2004 when I was a student there. The piece is based off of Pachibel’s Canon In D, although it is written in a different key, and has three parts written in SAB (Soprano-Alto-Baritone). The piece happens to be at the bottom of my own range as a singer, but it is a surpassingly lovely song and not thinking it a particularly difficult task to round up some other interested singers looking to sing the song as part of a vocal trio. It did not prove to be an easy experience, involving a revolving door of somewhere around half a dozen different female singers and nearly three years of intermittent practicing before the piece was finally performed. During that time I moved several times and at least one of the copies of the music had gotten lost along the way, so I purchased replacement copies, which I will be returning at length to the person with the music library with a note of apology both for having lost one of the original copies as well as for having taken so long to return the music.

This particular situation gives the sort of instance where I tend to feel compelled to write a handwritten apology note, usually of some length. The situation is usually one that has dragged on for a long time without any seeming resolution, making the lack of resolution and closure particularly painful and unpleasant, given that I am the sort of person who particularly desires things to be well-defined and greatly dislikes interminable torment, no matter how much experience I have in dealing with situations that drag on forever. The situation is usually one where at least some sort of explanation can be provided; I never would have held on to the music for three years without both possessing a great deal of tenacity in getting the song performed or a great many obstacles in getting the song performed. Perhaps it would have been easier on the one hand had I not been so mulishly stubborn about keeping on with a song despite the difficulties, but the sort of life I live requires a great deal of stubbornness to get anything done since, contrary to widespread belief, little comes easily in my own life [2]. The sheer amount of effort and toil and difficulty that is required to get anything done tends to require a great deal of apology notes when things don’t turn out as anyone would wish, least of all myself.

As I was pondering the matter of apology notes, I was struck by the connection of the topic to the issue of the unpardonable sin. In the final analysis, the unpardonable sin is a sin which cannot be pardoned because it is not repented of. The grounds of that refusal to repent are limited, but are worth noting because of the fact that they can exist in our own lives if we are not careful. Hebrews 4:4-6 reminds us: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” Those who presumptuously rebel against the Eternal have only judgment to look forward to. Yet one would hope that presumptuous rebellion is very rare, and that if our love sometime waxes cold, and if sometimes we struggle particularly mightily in life, we do not fall away altogether and put God to shame. Likewise, Mark 3:28-30 says: “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of man, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”—because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

What does this have to do with apologies? For one, when we write an apology note we are acknowledging that we have done wrong, or at least done unwisely, and that we wish for restoration and reconciliation of good feeling. When the scribes in Mark 3 ascribed Jesus’ deeds to that of the ruler of the demons, the notorious Lord of the Flies, they put themselves beyond the reach of forgiveness because of the harshness by which they unmercifully judged Jesus. By so radically misjudging Jesus, they prevented themselves from ever being able to seek repentance from Him. In our lives, we have a tendency to act badly towards those we think badly about, and think badly about those we act badly towards, so that we can justify in our own minds the deeds we have done towards them, to resolve the cognitive dissonance between our thoughts and deeds. Being willing to apologize, even where we may fret and worry far more than the actual level of the wrong we have done, is a way to prevent ourselves from this easy resolution of our distress by blackening the character of others, so that we may remember that regardless of the unhappiness we may feel about a situation, that others remain worthy of our respect and concern, and that we may owe to others a debt of love, or at least a short note of apology, to acknowledge an awkward matter that has dragged on and on, without end.

[1] See, for example:













[2] See, for example:




About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Duly Noted And Acknowledged

  1. Pingback: Don’t Let Go | Edge Induced Cohesion

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