One of my children came to me and asked me, “What do you do when a you say sorry to someone and all they say is ‘good’?”
This was a good question and lead into some good conversation.
We teach our children to say, “I am sorry, I was wrong, will you please forgive me?” The important phrase here being “Will you please forgive me?” In just saying “sorry” we are carrying the conversation, we are dealing with our guilt and our need to say sorry. But, we are not inviting the other person to deal with their feelings, their hurt and their offering forgiveness. It is a selfish, self-protecting way of healing relationships.
The other important phrase is “I was wrong” or substituting the actual sin, such as “I am sorry, I got angry with you and hit you. That was wrong, will you please forgive me?” Admitting that you were wrong is a very exposing thing to do – not easy – but once again if we are sincere in healing relationships we have to bear all and be open towards our “brother”.
There is a place for just the words, “I am sorry” and that is in the case of an incidental accident – I trip over your feet, “I’m sorry”. I bump into you – “I’m sorry – are you okay”. I forget to get your favourite seasoning out – “I’m sorry, let me get it for you.”
Little accidents that cross our path are very different than when there has been a break in relationship because of some hurt I have been responsible for. That type of hurt needs heart to heart healing. Go the whole way, apologise, admit wrongdoing and be vulnerable and ask to be forgiven.