How It’s Possible to Transform the Words “I’m Sorry” Into True Change
How easy is it for you to say, “I’m sorry”?
How easy is it for you to get your children to say, “I’m sorry”?
Have you ever noticed that being sorry can mean different things?
It can mean . . . I regret what happened, I’m sorry I got caught, I’m sorry I have to deal with the consequences, or I’m deeply saddened by my behavior and don’t ever want to do that again!
Paul wrote about having true “Godly sorrow” for sin:
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.2 Corinthians 7:10
We often insist on an apology for something that has been said or done . . . but the simple truth is even if someone says the words, “I’m sorry,” they may just be expressing “worldly sorrow.” An attitude that wants to sidestep the pain they’ve caused—insisting that everyone just “move on.”
But the truth behind the true sorrow for sin is not only heard in words but it is seen in changed behavior!
God’s Word urges us to have sorrow that leads to true repentance, to have a sincere and genuine desire to turn away from our sin and change our behavior. Godly sorrow of repentance turns from sin to God, SEEKing the power of the Holy Spirit who as Paul states . . . “leads us away from sin and results in salvation.”
The Life Application New Testament Commentary adds…
Only God can empower people to change their ways. Only God can save people from the way sin imprisons them and paralyzes them. Only God can help us turn away from sin and seek salvation.
A Prayer Asking God to Help Me Experience True Change
Father, I’m sorry. Two small words with many meanings. I admit that sometimes when I think about my sins, I fail to compare my words and actions to Your perfect will for me. I compare myself to others or measure myself against the world’s standards. I say “I’m sorry” without really seeing my need for true change.
But then, I look at Your Word and read Your commands. Your way is perfect. (Psalm 18:30) Your commands are perfect. (Psalm 19:7) Your laws are perfect. (Psalm 119:138) You are perfect, just, and fair. (Deuteronomy 32:4) And Jesus said, “you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
When I compare myself to Your perfect will for me, I am so ashamed. Your will wants what is best. You want me to enjoy the blessings of a true change to obedience not the consequences of sin. Yet, I foolishly listen to the wrong voices and follow the wrong path. I fail and I am so very sorry. I don’t deserve Your forgiveness; yet, You say that when I come to You with true repentance in Jesus’ name . . . You will forgive me.
I humbly confess my sins. I know that I need Jesus. Please forgive me and help me by the power of Your Spirit to listen to Your voice and trust Your will and obey Your commands. I not only believe that leads to salvation but it is ultimately the way to live with peace, joy, hope, and so much more right now. Thank you for Your undeserved love. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for Your Spirit. I surrender this day to You. Please help me live it for Your glory. Amen.
You and I live in a sinful world. And even when we want to obey perfectly . . . we won’t. We can’t.
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.Galatians 5:17
But that’s not an excuse to sin.
He also said:
Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not!Romans 6:1–2a
Godly repentance gives us a desire for true change . . . and although we will continue to need God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice and love, we will also have a genuine desire to KNOW, TRUST, and OBEY His will.
Because we trust His love and promises. Promises like:
I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11
I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. So I have helped you come to Me with loving-kindness.Jeremiah 31:3
God’s love, by the power of His Spirit, turns a simple “I’m sorry” into Godly repentance that leads to true change.
On today’s note write:
God’s love helps to turn my “I’m sorry” into true change.
May God bless you and help you experience the true change that follows Godly repentance.
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Deb, you truly made me think today about how glibly we can say those word, “I’m sorry,” and not really change our ways. In the future, I’ll say those words with the intention to change for the better with God’s help.
This look at repentance has encouraged me to do some self-examination too, Martha! I do love that the Lord is willing to continue challenging and growing us through His Word and His Spirit. Blessings!
Beautiful post! I feel like I should put this into regular rotation for my lessons for my kids.
Thank you, Rebecca! God bless you!