When an Apology is Not
Not all apologies are created equal.
As Rhett Butler said to Scarlett “”You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.”
I recently read an article that talked about the difference between remorse and repentance.
Remorse is when we cause someone pain and feel guilty and will do anything to make our guilt go away. It’s me focused.
Repentance is when we desire to understand the pain we have caused others, to acknowledge we have work to do on the inside and humble ourselves enough to do it.
Remorse makes us say I’m sorry for all kinds of wrong reasons: to make something stop, or go away; to distract; to regain power; to inflict pain.
Repentance gets us back into right relationship with God and the person we hurt, which is a place where true understanding and forgiveness heals the wound.
Remorse looks like a bandaid, until the next time. Repentance is a tree of life.
I guess this is on my mind because I’ve noticed a trend in apologies that seem long on remorse and short on repentance.
This was handled years ago…I can’t change the past…let’s move forward, I promise to do better…I never meant to hurt you…I didn’t know.
Other people’s sins are not our business, it’s true. But in this day of instant social media, we are privy to more information about people than ever before. Sometimes, the apologies of public figures help us decide if we can vote for them or continue watching their show or buying their products or listening to their music or cheering for their team.
We do have to judge, in that sense, the quality of their character based on the quality of their apology.
We know a bandaid when we see it.
We should look for the life-giving tree.