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KSB should “apologize” – what does that mean?

During the press conference held by the CRL Commission on Thursday, 13 July 2023 the chairperson, Prof David Luka Mosoma recommends that KSB apologize to the victims. But what does “apologize” entails?

Collins Dictionary states that an apology is: “to say that one is sorry for wrongdoing. You are sorry that you have hurt them or caused trouble for them.” As Synonyms they list: express regret, ask forgiveness, make an apology, beg pardon, say you are sorry, sorrow etc”.

Saying “sorry” is thus no small matter for it entails the acknowledgment of wrongdoing and the showing of regret for it. It is important to note though that the word “apologize” as we know it, is a “new” word. It was only in the beginning of 1600 that it was adapted most likely by William Shakespeare and used to describe the acknowledgement of guilt and the showing of regret.

The professor also claimed the Commission have only authority where it comes to religious matters. Thus it is natural to deduct that as KSB claims to be a Christian Mission, we should turn to the Bible to get clarity of what “apologize” or “saying sorry” truly means according to the Bible.

The best description I found to be in 2 Cor chapter 7. The Amplified Bible transliterates verses 10 – 11 like this: “For [godly] sorrow that is in accord with the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but worldly sorrow produces death. 11 For see what an earnestness and authentic concern this godly sorrow has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves [against charges that you tolerate sin], what indignation [at sin], what fear [of offending God], what longing [for righteousness and justice], what passion [to do what is right], what readiness to punish [those who sin and those who tolerate sin]”

John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion Vol 3 pages 76-86 writes: “It is for a very good reason that the apostle Paul enumerates seven causes, effects, or parts in his description of repentance. They are earnestness or carefulness, excuse, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and avenging. He says that from ‘sorrow according to God’ [2 Corinthians 7:10] carefulness arises. For he who is touched with a lively feeling of dissatisfaction with self because he has sinned against his God is at the same time aroused to diligence and attention, that he may escape from the devil’s snares, that he may better take precaution against his wiles, and that he may not afterward fall away from the governance of the Holy Spirit, nor be lulled into a sense of security.

Next is ‘excuse,’ which in this passage does not signify a defence whereby the sinner, to escape God’s judgment, either denies that he has offended or extenuates his fault; but rather purification, which relies more on asking pardon. In short, they so excuse themselves not to prove themselves righteous and innocent, but only to obtain pardon. There follows indignation, when the sinner moans inwardly with himself, finds fault with himself, and is angry with himself, while recognizing his own perversity.

By the word ‘fear’ Paul means that trembling which is produced in our minds as often as we consider both what we deserve and how dreadful is the severity of God’s wrath toward sinners. It seems to me that he has used the word ‘longing’ to express that diligence in doing our duty and that readiness to obey to which recognition of our sins ought specially to summon us. To this also pertains the ‘zeal’ that he joins directly to it, for it signifies an ardour by which we are aroused when those spurs are applied to us.

Lastly, there is ‘avenging.’ For the more severe we are toward ourselves, and the more sharply we examine our own sins, the more we ought to hope that God is favourable and merciful toward us. And truly, it could not happen otherwise than that the soul itself, stricken by dread of divine judgment, should act the part of an avenger in carrying out its own punishment.”

Thus, it is clear that there are 2 types of “apology” – one that is worldly and is useless and leads to more condemnation and ultimate destruction. The other sorrow is from God and leads to forgiveness and newness of life and heart. Paul enumerates these 7 characteristics of “good” apology and Calvin explains it clearly. And this is what we want of KSB.

            1: We want them to be earnest and carefully taking great care going back many years looking at all the people who left KSB. They must ask themselves honestly why these people left, what they did to offend or hurt these people and what they have forsaken to do to try and restore the broken relationship. Perhaps they were the ones that placed a huge millstone around the necks of these individuals, and they need to take responsibility for that.

            2: They need to come clean, to speak to the honest truth openly and without fear even to the detriment of themselves, confessing their wrong doing without pointing any finger at the other person/persons.

            3: There must be real anger at themselves for having failed God, having caused somebody to stumble, having acted lovelessly and being unkind. This anger must be turned inwards for in condemning themselves, they will be saved from the condemnation of God.

            4: They must show genuine longing to make restitution of the wrong they perpetrated going even as far as Zacchaeus in Luke 19. There must also be a genuine effort to punish those in their own midst who perpetrated the evil. They must openly and honestly reveal the whole truth and accept responsibility in a real way.

This is the Apology we are looking for and not some wishy-washy general mumbling of a forced confession as was the case of king Saul in 1 Sam 15. May God have mercy on KSB.