Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT)
23 So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
Here we have the words of Jesus who tells the people if they are going to present their offerings to God, before doing so they should consider if anyone is holding something against them. If they know someone is bitter towards them they should first go make that issue right between them before making an offering to God. We need to go to God in our offering with a clean heart knowing we have tried to make things right.
One thing I have learned in life is - we can hurt the feelings of others without even trying. We may say something in jest that strikes at the heart of spouse, friend or co-worker to the point they become bitter. I have seen people say something without really thinking it through; then the other person responds with something like, �What you said really hurt my feelings because it�s not true.� Then typically the offender will say something to the effect of, �It was just a joke. I wasn�t being serious.� If you say it was a joke and you weren�t being serious then you really need to consider why you said it.
What did the offender leave out in their response? They didn�t offer an apology for hurting the other person�s feelings. It might not have been the offender�s intent to hurt the person�s feelings, yet they did. So the person is left emotionally wounded while the offender tries to explain away their fault.
There is an easy solution. In this case we heard the person say �their feelings were hurt�. Always try to listen for feelings words when someone is speaking to you for feeling words speak from their heart. It is so easy to take a second and acknowledge those feelings with an apology such as this � �I am so sorry I hurt your feelings and I apologize for doing so.� In just a few words you have given an apology that addresses their feelings and puts them at ease.
I have heard people say, but I really didn�t do anything wrong so why should I apologize. Apologies are not about whether your action was intentional to hurt or not, but instead to make yourself right with the person so bitterness does not overtake them. Apologies are not an admission of doing something wrong. Instead they are a statement of wanting to do something right by letting person know you heard how you hurt them. When you say I�m sorry I hurt your feelings and I apologize, it sets straight the intent you did not mean to hurt them. It is not an admission of guilt, but a statement of wanting to be reconciled to the person. If you suddenly remember someone has something against you do not hesitate to go and apologize to them - for in doing so you will make peace and prevent future pains.