I can illustrate. Being a parent of four children, I have had to "moderate" a good number of apologies. On many occasions, I have told one of my children, "Now you tell your brother/sister you're sorry." What then comes out of their mouth sounds more like a child who is demon possessed than a sincere apology. Teeth clenched ... jaw set ... and the words, "I'm sorry" are spoken in a forceful and almost growling tone. (If you have children, you know exactly what I'm talking about).
But now, that's just kid's stuff, right? Adults don't behave like that, now do we? Well, maybe we're not so obvious, but we still have ways of speaking those words with less than sincerity. For example, how many times have you heard people say things like ...
- If I have done anything to offend you, I'm sorry.
- I'm sorry, but if you wouldn't have ...
- If you'll apologize to me, I'll apologize to you.
Isn't it time we quit pretending to be sorry? Let us discipline ourselves to be humble enough to graciously and freely say we are sorry when we have offended others. When confronted with his sin, King David didn't make any excuses, but simply admitted his wrong by saying, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Samuel 12:13).
Next time you need to say you're sorry. Humble yourself and do so, and say it like you mean it.