Sorry = a composite photgraph

By Dave Henning / July 16, 2023

“When you meet someone, it’s like seeing a single snapshot.  If you aren’t careful, you’ll judge the book by its cover.  Sorry is more akin to a composite photograph.  It captures the nuance of little details, but it also captures context via the big picture.”- Mark Batterson

“When we forgive, we set a prisoner free and then discover that the prisoner we set free was us.”- Lewis Smedes

Mark Batterson concludes his Part 2 Preface of Please Sorry Thanks as he describes a phenomenon called the illusion of asymmetrical insight.  In this cognitive bias, we perceive our knowledge of others as greater than their knowledge of themselves.  As a result, Pastor Batterson observes, we thin-slice people, judge a book by its cover.  Or, as Mark’s friend Scooby puts it, “We take one thing and make it the whole thing.”

Certainly, Mark acknowledges, it’s much easier to hold opinions about people than feel empathy for them.  Yet, here’s the bottom line.  Everyone’s fighting a battle you know nothing about.  In 2021, photographer Stephen Wilkes took a picture of 695,000 flags installed near the Washington Monument.  Created by artist Suzanne Firstenberg, the flags commemorate those who died from Covid-19.

However, it’s no ordinary photo.  Because Wilkes actually digitally blended together 4,882 snapshots – part of his Day to Night series.  Therefore, Pastor Batterson underscores:

“My point?  Everyone you meet is a composite.  They are a complex combination of defense mechanisms and adaptive strategies.  The most common strategy?  It’s a toss-up between fight and flight.  We either attack or retreat.  There is a better way, the Jesus way, and it begins with sorry.  Every apology begins with empathy.  It’s a heart that breaks for the things that break the heart of God. . . .   A simple sorry can break the dam of unforgiveness.

Without empathy, our apologies are empty.  Saying sorry without feeling sorry sends mixed signals.  You have to own the apology!”

Today’s question: How do you see sorry as a composite photograph?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the July Short Meditation, “No standing still in the Spirit”

About the author

Dave Henning

Leave a comment:

Call Now Button