June 22, 2012

Really Sorry

2 Corinthians 7:8-11

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
—2 Corinthians 7:10


Carla and Tom were excited to announce their engagement to their family and friends. The next day they went to a restaurant to make wedding plans. When Tom left the table for a few minutes and left his phone, Carla noticed on it several racy text messages from a former girlfriend, and she saw that he had replied in the same way. When he returned, she confronted him. All he could say was “I’m sorry!” over and over again.

An apology may not be the same as a confession. A person who is caught doing wrong may simply be sorry that he is caught, or that he has to pay consequences, or that whoever was offended has a problem with the offense. Many people in prison are sorry, but when they are released some go back to the same crimes.

A complete confession must have sorrow in it that begins in the heart of the offender. It acknowledges first of all that any sin against another person is also disobedience against God’s commands. It offers no excuses. It does not include words like if, but, or maybe. It recognizes the hurt that was caused, and that is not easy to do. A clear and simple “I am wrong” is the hardest thing for almost all of us to say.

Holy God, let your Word penetrate to the thoughts and attitudes of my heart. Expose my excuses for sinning against you and others. When I do wrong, give me a godly sorrow that will lead to your forgiveness. Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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