Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lame Apologies, Unconditional Forgiveness, And Illigitimate Repentence

My jury service is over. We convicted the slimeball on four counts of sexual assault and abuse with young girls, one of which was his nine-year-old daughter.

One remark during the cross-examination especially caught my attention. In her testimony, the girl said that, when he was confronted about his misdeed, her father said, “Well, if I did anything that upset you, I’m sorry.”

What do you do with lame, disingenuous apologies like that? That happens frequently. Someone does some outrageous, hurtful deed and then, when confronted, flippantly offers that kind of a meaningless, half-hearted response. What does that mean anyway? Does it mean if you’re not upset, then he’s not really sorry? Does it mean he’s only sorry that you have been offended but he’s not remorseful about his deed? Or does it mean that he is only sorry that he was found out?

I have been told by someone who has repeatedly and habitually committed the same trespass, that, just because he said, “sorry” I must forgive him because Jesus commanded us to forgive seventy times seven. In this classic example of deflection, suddenly the attention is off the offender and turned to the supposed “sin” of the offended for not being willing to forgive.

And then there is this insane statement that I often hear. We must forgive unconditionally because God forgives us unconditionally. But is that true? Does God forgive us unconditionally? I just don’t see it that way.

The Apostle Paul clearly describes two kinds of remorse for sin. One kind is like the lame apology described above. It is the “sorrow of the world” and it produces death. True sorrow for sin produces repentance worthy of exoneration and leads to salvation which is the condition for real forgiveness.

"For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter." 2Corinthians 7:8-11



4 comments:

Stan McCullars said...

You don't have the name and address of the offender do you?

I would love to pay him a visit.

Ralph M. Petersen- Always Right;Sometimes Wrong! said...

Hi Stan,

I don't think you need to visit him; he will soon be Bubba's girlfriend and I'm sure he will learn experientially how it feels.

By the way, nice picture.

Ralph

Stan McCullars said...

I'm glad you folks put him away. I would like a shot at him though.

I guess Bubba will take care of him.

As for the photo, it's not up to the rhino standard but it's the best I could do.

Ron Livesay said...

I dealt with many children and young people in disciplinary situations during my years as a Christian school administrator. One of the things I consistently heard from the mouths of wrongdoers was, "Well, I said sorry" as if this somehow made everything OK. I continually reminded them that making things right involves (1) admitting wrongdoing, (2) asking for forgiveness, (3) doing whatever is necessary to undo the damage, if possible, and (4) willingly accepting the consequences of the wrong action. Saying "sorry" means nothing without the other four things.