I sheepishly hung my head and made a barely audible attempt to mutter the words "I'm sorry." My eyes were focused on the floor and I impatiently waited the offendee to accept my feeble attempt at remedying the situation. I waited longer than I had anticipated and felt anxious as I slowly began to look upwards wondering if she had even heard what I'd said.
Her eyes were fixed on me. Her brows were furrowed and a quizzical expression crossed her face. In my bewilderment I looked away again, not knowing what to say next. After far too many awkward minutes had passed, she simply said, "'I'm sorry' is too easy."
Too easy? My jaw dropped as she turned and walked away. Too easy? Have you any idea how difficult it was for me to come and apologize? I was embarrassed and humiliated.
Little did I realize that so was she.
I took my confusion to Scripture as I searched in the concordance for 'sorry' and 'apologize.' Neither key word appeared. In fact, nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to say "I'm sorry" or to apologize to one another. Not one chapter. Not one verse. Whew! We are off the hook, right? Not so fast.
What I did find was the word 'forgive.' In fact it appears equally as many times in the New Testament as it does in the Old Testament, in the King James Version. Add the word 'forgiveness' to the mix and they appear more than 100 times in the Bible. This is no coincidence.
Being sorry means the same thing as being remorseful and regretful. In other words, "I am ashamed of my behavior." While there is nothing wrong with this offering, it doesn't quite cut the whole cake.
See, sisters, when we wrong someone, the Word of God tells us to seek forgiveness. Asking, "Please, forgive me," is far more effective than forcing our "I'm sorry" onto the very person we have wronged. Saying I'm sorry should be reserved for spilling a drink on the newspaper or bleaching your husbands favorite black T-shirt. But, forgiveness? That's a bit more involved.
Forgiveness involves a process of repentance, confession, and restitution.
True repentance is a change in attitude and a sincere resolve to turn away from the sin and toward God. If we seek forgiveness with the intention of sinning in that way again, we have not truly repented.
Confession - This is the hard part. As a part of repentance we need to confess our sins. First to God, then to those we have wronged. Saying your sin out loud to the one you sinned against is a big step in true repentance and a healing relationship.
Then there is restitution. Restitution means you try to correct the wrong that you made. This isnt always possible, but if it is, it's an important step in the act of seeking forgiveness.
I urge you sweet sisters in Christ to dive into God's word and read the abundant verses dedicated solely to forgiveness.