How NOT to say, "I'm Sorry"

How many times do we wrong someone and casually throw an "I'm sorry" their way? Do we really mean it, or are we just repeating words we have said a thousand times without actually reflecting on what we had done? My daughter, was the perfect example of how I fear I handle apologies. A few years ago, when she was about three, and our son was about five, they were playing in another room while I was doing some housework. All of a sudden, I heard my daughter saying, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" over and over. In a bit of a panic I ran to where they were, fearing the worst. What could she have done to her brother that caused her to be so vocally repentant?

When I finally got to the playroom, I was met with a scene that I was NOT expecting! My daughter was hitting my son over and over. With each blow, she was yelling, "I'm sorry!" The look on my son's face was priceless. He didn't know WHAT to do! To this day, I don't know what happened between them that upset her so much, but I do know that my daughter probably wasn't ACTUALLY sorry for hitting him! She did, however, put into practice what her dad and I had been teaching our children: When you wrong someone, you need to tell them that you are sorry. I think we might have missed the piece of the lesson where we help them to understand what it means to actually BE sorry!

Now that our children are in their tweens, I'm not sure that we have done any better about getting that point across. I can't tell you how many times our children have done something wrong and said, "Soooooory!" with sarcasm just dripping from that one word. Unfortunately, the sad part is that often they have to be told what the appropriate response should be before we even get this much from them.

Now, don't get me wrong! Our children are smart, funny, caring people; and we hear a lot of good reports about how respectful they are. I think part of the problem with them, and with me, is that we don't like to be wrong. Saying, "I am sorry", is pretty close to saying "I was wrong", and I don't know a lot of people who say those words easily. When we say "I am sorry", we are attempting to put the matter to rest. We want to be done with it and move on, and that is very one-sided. What we should be saying is, "Will you forgive me?" This requires us to wait for a response from the person that we have offended, and that is also not easy to do. Of course, if they are a Christian, Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:21-22 that their answer should be yes:

"Then came Peter to Him and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."

I am afraid that there are a lot of people who do not want to forgive. I think most of us have been guilty of this at one time or another, but we need to understand that Jesus is very clear on this point. The good news is that when we turn to God for forgiveness, 1 John 1:9 reminds us that God will extend His infinite mercy to us:

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Not only that, but Psalm 103:12 tells us that once we are forgiven, those transgressions are far behind us:

"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."

If we are Christians, then we need to strive to forgive. 1 John 2:5-6 tells us:

"But whoso keepeth His word in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked."

So here is one of the many things that I love about God. I started off with a blog about being sorry, and finished with a blog about forgiveness. The wonderful thing about forgiveness, is that it truly does put the wrong deed behind us. We think "I'm sorry" covers that and we can move on. In truth, we need to seek forgiveness so that it truly is behind us, "as far as the east is from the west."

About the Author: I am a Christian wife and mom who works full time outside of the home. I would love to one day be a full-time stay at home blogger, but this does not seem to be God's plan for me right now. In the meantime, I strive to live and love my family in ways that will please God. I also love to share His words and desires for us by blogging about finding Him in everyday life. You can find me on the web at http://blog.christianmomatwork.com