I’m of the opinion that it is easier to say sorry when you don’t mean it. For some people, sorry just falls off their lips just as easily as they lie. But as someone who strives to be truthful all the time, I find it hard to apologise when I don’t know my fault. I want to be convinced and apologise from my heart, even if it hurts to admit that I was wrong. It’s that important for me to know that I am doing the right thing, whether I am apologising or standing my ground.
And so, when I meet people who say sorry willy nilly, it’s hard for me to trust them, especially when they don’t seem to know why they are sorry. Or when they refuse to look over the issues to discover what caused the hurt, so as not to do so again. Why would they want to reconcile without knowing that the coast is really clear, and that they have truly been forgiven for their real offence, instead of feeling like the issue has been swept aside and overlooked?
I think many people think there’s a virtue in apologizing quickly, or apologizing when you don’t believe you are at fault. I think it’s connected to how we confess our sinfulness and receive forgiveness from Christ. The message is that we have done so many filthy things worthy of death, that there’s just no point trying to sift through them. When we confess our sins, we confess to murder just as we confess to theft, even if we’ve never actually done either. We just know the potential is in us.
And we believe we are forgiven for all and free to have a guiltless relationship with God the instant that we say “Forgive me.” And maybe that’s true. But I suspect that we carry these expectations into our relationships with humans. We don’t want them to identify or point out our sins. We don’t even want it to have a name. Our sorry should be a blank cheque for every and all offences, whether we mean it or not.
Now, my question is, is that right? Should this be our mind as believers, or is there a need for a deeper honesty when we confess our sins to one another? Can you really be sorry when you don’t know why, and you just want someone to stop being upset with you and for things to go back to normal? Isn’t that simply emotional manipulation? And isn’t the likelihood of a repeat offence greater in such situations?
I think we also need to recognise that there are those who are very good at identifying what they did wrong, and who apologize easily, as if they knew exactly what they were doing while offending, and were prepared to apologize if they ever got caught. These psychos can be easy to miss, and because they apologise easily, and apparently genuinely, you don’t realise that you’re being played until they have you just where they want… Doubting yourself and whether or not you are actually the one at fault or the cause of all your problems. When they no longer apologise for doing wrong, you wonder if you are not the one in error because they never had a problem with apologising before. Tricky devils.
So, I have also wondered maybe I’m the one who has a hard time letting things go. Maybe I have a problem with forgiveness and so I don’t want to accept their sorry, when I haven’t tired of my anger or wrath. Maybe they are sorry and my unforgiving spirit makes them feel like I’m on a witch hunt, and so they protect themselves by not being entirely honest about their faults. What is the truth?
All I know is that there is no trust without honesty, and it’s time we start being honest…even if it makes us look bad. The One who forgives all will forgive us, even if those we hurt struggle to. So, while it is good to seek peace and apologise for your mistakes early, no, I don’t think it’s ever right to say sorry when you don’t mean it. At the end of the day, I’d rather be sincerely wrong than deceptively right by making a false confession.
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