2 Corinthians 7:9
. . . yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
Our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, will be three-years-old in less than a week, and she's growing by leaps and bounds in every measurable way. One area in which she has shown monumental progress over the last year is talking. It's hard to believe that, at one point, we were all concerned about this as Virginia demonstrated she understood what we said to her, but wasn't responding verbally.
We can kiss that worry good-bye! From the minute she enters our house until the moment she leaves, Virginia is a delightful chatterbox. And, her vocabulary use and pronunciation improves daily.
One phrase she's mastered is, "I sowwy," when she realizes she's done something she shouldn't. When Virginia visits us recently, she says this every time she lets a BB roll off the table and expects this Gammie to fetch them.
"Virginia," my husband, Danny, says rather sternly, "When you say, 'I'm sorry,' it also means that you won't do this again."
"I sowwy, Papa."
But, this lesson is far from sticking.
On her next visit, Virginia is at the table, messing around with her Play-Doh and BBs, when I get up to make some coffee. The minute my back is turned, I hear them. The rattling, tip-tip-tap of renegade BBs hitting the wood floor.
"Virginia!" I lament, though not unkindly.
"I sowwy, Gammie."
I have to chuckle. "Virginia, you're getting really good at saying, 'I'm sorry,' but not doing anything about it."
Without missing a beat, she responds, "I know!"
How many times have we apologized to someone for a wrongdoing, but didn't change our ways? Maybe, we said, "I'm sorry," simply to placate another or smooth over a situation for the time being. Our words came easy, but our hearts and minds harbored insincerity.
St. Paul makes it crystal clear in 2 Corinthians 7:9 - Being sorry means nothing unless we repent. Unless we realize the deeds committed must cease. Unless we seek true forgiveness with contrite and humble hearts.
And, realize that apologies are only as good as our follow through.
Have you ever told someone, "I'm sorry," and not meant it?
Please join me in prayer:
Help us, Father, to be sincere when we apologize to others. Let our words come from hearts which understand that true forgiveness comes from true repentance. May we always bear in mind Your great gift through Your Son, Christ Jesus, of forgiveness for our sins. Amen.