Author: Ron Graham


Saying Sorry
—Prerequisite to Reconciliation

We teach little children to “say sorry” and we expect people who do wrong to say sorry, and mean it.

As we shall see in this lesson, saying sorry to one another, or saying sorry to God, is not the finish of righting a wrong. However saying sorry is certainly a necessary and excellent beginning. A sincere apology for wrong done can go a very long way to healing and reconciliation.

In this lesson, we are not talking about manners. It's manners to say sorry when you accidentally bump someone walking past them on the footpath, even though very little harm is done. We are not thinking about small matters like that. Rather, in this lesson we are addressing wrongs which have caused grief, loss, sorrow, harm, and pain.

1 We Ought to Say Sorry.

2 Then We Ought to Change

3 Else We Can’t Be Reconciled

The word of God shows us that saying sorry is a necessary and noble act. When people say sorry, and mean it, the Lord lifts up his face upon them, and he smiles.


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s motion of apology in Parliament Feb 13, 2008.

"The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.
For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.
A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia."