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Friday, May 29, 2015

When It's Dumb to Say "I'm Sorry"

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV).  [with thanks to Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, page 148 and to Angleo Lundy].

Let's say I did a terrible  thing – yesterday while driving drunk, I drove over the curb and killed an eight-year-old child walking home from school. What could I possibly say to the parents that would not sound self-serving? The first and foremost thing that I should not say is "I'm sorry." For this would draw the attention upon me rather than upon the victims; and would be, in a sense,  a ridiculous attempt to  cloak myself as a suffering victim.  Much less hurtful to the family would be a simple – "I did a terrible thing; I apologize to everyone hurt by this."  The clean decency of an apology with a frank admission of guilt is much less offensive than an indirect and self-serving plea for sympathy--a suggestion that even now as the offender, I'm "playing games."

On the other hand, Godly sorrow is called for.  I have an obligation to my Heavenly Father to confess my guilt to him--to tell him in the closet of repentance that I am sorry; for I have sinned not only against the child and family, but against God.

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