In the washroom of his London club, British newspaper publisher and politician William Beverbrook happened to meet Edward Heath, then a young member of Parliament, about whom Beverbrook had printed an insulting editorial a few days earlier. “My dear chap,” said the publisher, embarrassed by the encounter. “I’ve been thinking it over, and I was wrong. Here and now, I wish to apologize.”
“Very well,” grunted Heath. “But the next time, I wish you’d insult me in the washroom and apologize in your newspaper.”
That’s a valuable lesson for all of us. My view is that when you offend someone in private, it is best to apologize in private. But when you offend in public, make amends in public.
We all offend others from time to time, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unwittingly. But there is no greater freedom than to let go of the burden by saying, “I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me.” You will never look more like Jesus than when you speak to others in humility and confession.