After looked at a bunch of famous apologies and learning how NOT to apologize, we should be ready to make some sound statements about the characteristics of good apologies...
1. A good apology uses strong language in describing the sin being repented of. This shows that the repenting party is taking their sin seriously. It wasn't an accident or a mistake. It was a sin.
2. A good apology focuses on the personal nature of the sin. Even if other people were involved, a personal apology is about the individual person. A good apology doesn't focus on other people's role in the sin or the aftermath.
3. A good apology is usually short. I say this for two reasons. First, long apologies, by the nature of their length, usually include some excuses and attempted justifications for the sin(s). Second, a short apology suggests that the person knows that words are not enough to make the situation right (a change of behavior couples a genuine apology).
4. A good apology isn't motivated by a desire to avoid all the consequences to the sin. Someone who is genuinely repentant is willing to take on the consequences if need be. They may even insist on them because they know they need help to change.