You have likely heard of the Anthony Weiner scandal and his ensuing apology. A married man, Weiner “sexted” with several women until he posted a salacious photo intended for private viewing to his public Twitter account. Those who still doubt the utility of Twitter, take note. It now accounts for the loss of a shamed public servant.
With many others, I followed these developments with interest. I wanted to see how Weiner apologized. There have been a spate of these kind of men-behaving-badly fiascos and the inevitable apology often sounds like a remixed personal pep talk. ”I see now that I acted out of line with my personal convictions, and I am determined to do my very best to live up to all that my thousands of fans expect of me.” You hear this sort of shlock all the time.
As far as public confessions of shame by disgraced men go, this one was actually pretty good. Here’s a snippet:
I have exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years. For the most part, these relation– communications took place before my marriage, though some have sadly took place after.
To be clear, I have never met these any of these women or had physical relationships at any time. I haven’t told the truth, and I’ve done things I deeply regret.
I brought pain to people I care about the most and the people who believed in me, and for that I’m deeply sorry. I apologize to my wife and our families, as well as to our friends and supporters.
I’m deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions.
As I said, this apology was solid–maybe a six out of ten. Of course, Weiner stopped short of giving his apology backbone. He has vowed to stay in office. An apology is not enough. Egregious actions should have serious consequences. It’s not sufficient to stand in front of some cameras and confess. Confession should bring contrition–expressed in the form of action like, say, resigning.
But that’s a matter for another message-board discussion. All of this hubbub had me thinking about apologies. Apologies are not just pro forma statements of contritive fact. They are utterances from the core of our being that we are in the wrong. Apologies are a form of common grace. In a world ruled by Satan, not by God, no one would apologize. Everyone would excuse their actions or ignore them. When we fail to apologize to our spouse or roommate or employer, we are picturing a little bit of a world order ruled by vicious principalities and powers.