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The Inadequacy of Being Sorry

When it comes to giving and receiving forgiveness, “I’m sorry” is not the same as “Please forgive me”:

“I’m sorry” focuses on me instead of on the person I hurt. “Will you please forgive me?” puts the focus appropriately on the injured party.

“I’m sorry” can be said in a vacuum and requires no response. “Will you please forgive me” and “Yes, I forgive you” are lifelines thrown across a broken relationship.

“I’m sorry” has become cheap. Do we really want to use the same word for everything from “sorry that I missed your phone call,” to “sorry that I can’t make the dinner engagement we had,” to “sorry that I murdered your son”?

“I’m sorry” may or may not acknowledge wrong-doing. I may just be sorry that you took offense at what I said or that I got caught red-handed in sin. “Please forgive me,” on the other hand, clearly acknowledges moral guilt.

“I’m sorry” doesn’t necessarily require that we come down from our high-horse of pride. “Please forgive me” is by its very nature humbling: with the best kind of humility. It reinforces the fact that we are sinners, dependent on God’s grace, saved by faith, and working out our sanctification each day of our lives.

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