C. S. Lewis once said: “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a wonderful idea, until he has something to forgive.” The Bible speaks often about forgiveness and the writers understand that we are often conflicted about this issue. That is one of the reasons their teaching is usually coupled with a statement like “...even as God has forgiven us through His Son.” Jesus went even further and in that model petition we refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” he follows it by saying…”But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Mathew 6:15).
An excellent survey was conducted based upon what people say when they are sorry, and also what they like to hear when they are apologized to. They gave five basic answers:
1. I am sorry - most common and the most disliked. Has no depth, lacks sincerity but is better than the usual silence.
2. Sorry, I was wrong - second most disliked - admits guilt but offers no chance for interaction.
3. Sorry, I'm wrong, can I make amends? - a middle of the road answer, welcome to most.
4. Sorry, I'm wrong, can I make amends?, do you forgive me? 2nd most popular answer for obvious reasons.
5. Sorry, I'm wrong, can I make amends?, do you forgive me?, can you tell me how to avoid doing this to you again? Least common, but #1 favorite, because it gives both parties the best chance to resolve any issue.
If we could all be so bold as to go to a level 5 "I'm sorry", just imagine how many grudges out there would be out looking for someone else to carry them going forward!
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship