Have you ever been on the receiving end of a crappy apology? Ever been the one to hear, "I'm sorry you feel that way," or "I'm sorry you took what I said that way"? I know I have, and I know I've been the one to dish those out at one point or another. Is it just me though, but does anyone ever feel sincerely apologized to when they hear it put that way? Is that even a real sorry? Or does it feel more like a shifting of attention from the offender to offend the one they've initially offended? I don't know, like I said, maybe it's me.
Or maybe not.
Maybe you feel just like I do, too.
It seems to me that the practice of repentance has slowly excused itself from the room and ironically, in an apologetic way. Ever heard the term, "sorry, I'm not sorry"? Exactly.
And where did the word "apologize" even come from? Sure, it's just another word, but can we use it to somehow minimize or mature the nature of a heartfelt, "forgive me?" I think so. When was the last time you wholeheartedly said to someone, "forgive me"?
Maybe you're scanning your memory right now and trying to think of the last time you may have offended someone. Maybe you can't think of anything. Think again.
I was reading 1 John this morning and this is what it says,
"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us."
Some of us or maybe even a good number of us have come to the point where we streamline our prayers and narrow it down to something like, "forgive me of my sins today," or "Forgive my sinful thoughts." That's all very well and good. God knows them all, He knew it from the beginning. But as I think more and more about it, the more we become general with our confessions, the more we run the risk of growing insensitive to our offenses, or of even not realizing there are any at all. Specific and true repentance causes us to look at our shortcomings and offenses dead in the face and feel sorrow for what we have done. But the beauty of all of this is that we have Someone we run to that will take it all and provide incredible, freeing forgiveness. The verse said "he is faithful and just to forgive." He will do it.
And what would happen if we did that amongst ourselves? We're really good at talking about who hurt us and what they did. We go on social media and "sub" people when we've been hurt. (If you don't know what "sub" means, go ask your nearby 14-25 year old. I did.) We want people to admit they're wrong and repent. But what happens when it's our turn? Do we justify our actions? Do we avoid accountability? Couldn't there be just as much freedom in true repentance as there is in forgiveness?
I'm not nieve, this may not always look perfect and I'm not even an expert on saying sorry. People may not always be forgiving. But this isn't about them, it's about us and what we make of it. Let's not be a people of half-sorries, or no sorry's at all. Let's stop being "sorry we're not sorry." We don't always get it right, no one does. Let's let go of the pride and of our hurts and find that freedom in forgiveness.