“I am Sorry”

You could be reading a headline from any area of the news cycle on any given day. In recent days these words have been on the lips of a cricketer, a politician, a supermarket chain, various media celebrities, an Archbishop and others. Everybody seems to be apologising, or at least saying sorry.

“I am Sorry”

Frequently presented as part of a predictable “mea culpa”, these words seem to have lost their significance. Are you sorry? Really? What exactly do you mean? Sorry for what . . . that you have been caught and are fearing for your job, reputation or marriage? – all questions that a sceptic might ask.

Is sorry ever enough?

For some it is enough to keep their job, salvage a reputation or at least keep the social media mob at bay, until some other glittering prize beckons on the horizon of an insatiable media cycle. “Sorry, sorry, really, really sorry”, accompanied by tears and promises of a penitential learning and growth process . . . until the glare dims and the mob moves on. Sorry is sometimes enough to survive. It may even be enough for a relationship to survive but, on their own, these words are hollow – they lack substance.

Take a walk into the High Court and sit through a murder trial, or venture into the aftermath of unspeakable violence or loss and ask the same question. Among these people, in these places, sorry is not enough: forgiveness is too costly, peace is too precious, justice is too demanding. The more serious the matter, the less likely that sorry will be enough.

“Sorry, and I resign”. “Sorry, and here is recompense”. “Sorry, and I accept responsibility”. Sorry’s companion gives weight to the words. This is the soil into which the seeds of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation are planted . . . which is why the Bible does not say, “Therefore being justified by an apology, we have peace with God”. Saying sorry to God is not enough for us to know peace, forgiveness and reconciliation of a relationship broken by our sin.  

The incredible news from God is that our sorry can be placed upon the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. That sacrifice at Calvary has infinite value and our dependence upon it, by faith, to answer the claims of God’s justice is the only reason why we can have peace with God and our sins forgiven . . . which is why the Bible does say, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1 KJV).

He has said, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV).

God doesn’t want our sincerest tear-stained sorry if the words are only words.


Photo credit: Thought Catalog