What it Means to Say “I’m Sorry”



Wendy Donahue, a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, recently penned an article entitled “Give and take: The sport of apologizing.”  Our local Tampa Bay Times (TBT) picked it up.  While reading it, I was reminded of how difficult it is to simply say from the heart “I’m sorry.” It’s reminiscent of the 1976 hit by Elton John, when he crooned the mournful ballad “Sorry seems to be the hardest word.”

But it also occurred to me  how the word “sorry” seems to have changed its meaning and usage in our 21st century vocabulary. British journalist, Brandon O’Neill made this observation when he wrote, “These days, we use the word sorry not only to express sorrow for a misdemeanor, but also as an alternative to “pardon” (“Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that”) and “excuse me” (as in saying sorry when we bump into someone – or even, rather bizarrely, when they bump into us)”.

If we’re not careful saying, “I’m sorry” can become an overused euphemism that really lacks sincerity, or even speaks to an issue that merits an apology.

The words “sorry” and “sorrow” have a connection in origin and etymology. They share the idea of pain, suffering and distress.  Saying “I’m sorry” ought to be rooted in sorrow. Being sorry means to feel regret.  Compunction. Remorse.  Sorrow is an expression of grief, sadness or distress caused by a loss, disappointment or pain.

When the apostle Paul wrote the first letter to the Christians at Corinth he had to correct error and condemn sin in a very pointed manner.  The letter was effective and corrections were made.  So, in the second letter he wrote, “ 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” (2 Cor 7:9).

There are several things we can learn from this.

(1) Being sorry means to accept personal responsibility for wrong-doing.  An apology that blames others is not really an expression of guilt or regret.

(2) Being sorry should be the result of godly sorrow.  We’ve all heard apologies that sounded contrived or coerced.  Sometimes people are sorry they got caught.  That kind of sorrow is a carnal sorrow, not a godly sorrow.

(3) Being sorry should lead to repentance.  To repent is to change. To correct one’s course.  To make amends.  It is a change of heart that results in a change of behavior.  To say you are sorry, but to continue engaging in the same hurtful actions is insincere and hypocritical.

A couple of other thoughts may be appropriate to effective apology.  When possible apologize in person.  Not by phone. Email. Letter. Or Text.  There is something efficacious about looking someone in the eye and saying, “I’m sorry.”  Don’t make excuses by blaming someone else or circumstances.  Avoid any “apology” the begins, “I’m sorry, but..”  Or I’m sorry, if….”  You know where those sentence are going!

Ali McGraw’s character in the classic movie Love Story is  famous for saying, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  That may have sounded romantic in the movie, but quite the opposite is true.  Real life is about relationships where people make mistakes, use poor judgment, forget, or even sin.  And such actions always impact someone we love. Family. Friends. Neighbors. Or brethren.   So be willing to apologize.  Simply.  Sincerely.  Succinctly.  Because true love is always willing to say, “I’m sorry.”


Filed under Apology, Discipleship

71 responses to “What it Means to Say “I’m Sorry”

  1. Tiffany Hudson

    tough words to swallow…
    I think I have to apologize to a family member right now, but i can’t think of how to do it without the “but”…
    does that mean i’m not really sorry or that my pride is bigger than my sorrow???

  2. What’s up to all, how is the whole thing, I think
    every one is getting more from this site, and your views are good designed for new visitors.

  3. Some posts causе you to ѕmile, soome posts makе yօu
    sad, this one makes me think, whicҺ is better than anything else.

  4. My brother suggested I might like this website.
    He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had
    spent for this info! Thanks!

  5. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of
    the site is also really good.

  6. Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I
    will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.

  7. It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this piece off writing as well as from our dialogue mafe
    at this place.

  8. Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of info on your site.

    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You have done a fantastic job.

    I will definitely digg it and in my view recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

  9. This in itself should make you curious about how you can make your impact.
    Now I carefully research my domain names before purchasing them and building websites.
    Unsuccessful website fail to properly monetize their sites or generate traffic at little or no cost.

  10. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.
    I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog pots from you later on as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has
    motivated me to get my very own site now 😉

  11. I’m gone to say to my little brother, that he should also visit this web
    site on regular basis to take updated from hottest gossip.

  12. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog
    and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly
    the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot.
    I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  13. I’ll right away grasp your rss as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Please permit me understand so that I could subscribe.

  14. Hummm êtes vous сertain de ce que vous nous écrivez ??

  15. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate
    your efforts and I am waiting for your next post thank you once again.

  16. I’m not sure exactly why but this website is loading extremely slow for
    me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end?
    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  17. Thanks designed for sharing such a nice idea, post is
    good, thats why i have read it fully

  18. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog
    thus i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to find things to enhance my
    web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  19. Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone!

    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your
    posts! Keep up the excellent work!

  20. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further write ups thank you once

  21. Great blog here! Also your site loads up very fast!
    What web host are you the usage of? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your
    host? I want my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  22. Hi there, just wanted to say, I loved this post. It was funny.
    Keep on posting!

  23. I believe what you said was very reasonable. However,
    consider this, what if you added a little content? I
    am not suggesting your information is not good., but what if you added something that grabbed folk’s attention? I mean What it Means to Say Im Sorry | ThePreachersWord is kinda vanilla.

    You should look at Yahoo’s home page and note how they create article headlines to get viewers interested.
    You might try adding a video or a related picture or two to grab people excited about
    everything’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it might make your posts
    a little livelier.

  24. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post.
    Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  25. Good day! This is my first visit to your
    blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new project in a
    community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

  26. Hurrah, that’s what I was looking for, what a information! present here at this webpage, thanks admin of this
    web page.

  27. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog
    that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve
    hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few folks are speaking
    intelligently about. I’m very happy I came across this in my search for something concerning

  28. Ӏ all tɦе tim emailed tɦis web site post pɑge to аll
    myy friends, ɑs iff like to reawd іt after tɦat mʏ links ѡill tօo.

  29. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing
    issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I
    am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS
    problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly
    respond? Thanx!!

  30. Ԝhat’s up, I աant to subscribe for this webpage tօ obtain hottest updates, soo աhere caan i
    do іt pllease help out.

  31. What’s up, I want to subscribe for this weblog to take most up-to-date updates,
    so where can i do it please help out.

  32. Howdy! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog
    looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying
    to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct
    this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share.
    With thanks!

  33. Fine way of describing, and pleasant piece of writing to get data regarding my presentation subject matter,
    which i am going to present in institution of higher education.

  34. EuɦҺ êtes vous sûr de ce que vous nous avancez ?

  35. J’ai trouvé ton sitе internet par chɑnce pսis je ne le regrette poimt !!!

  36. Quality articles is the main to attract the viewers to pay a visit the web site, that’s
    what this web page is providing.

  37. Je vais termineг de voir ça dans la soirée

  38. On va te ɗirfe que ce n’est guère inexact !!

  39. Јohnson’s election campaiցn.

  40. XXX

    Bon, jе n’ai point terminé de lire toutefߋis
    je reviens plսis tard

  41. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This
    post posted at this site is truly fastidious.

  42. Мы выполняем ремонт холодильников киев
    многих торговых брендов.

  43. Sսperbe poste, continue comme cela

  44. Ϻagnifique ρoste pour ne pas cɦanger

  45. Splendide article : cօmme d’hab

  46. Supeгƅe poste : pour ne rien changer

  47. Naturally, from being overweight, if you could not fled, you’ll need to drop some extra few
    pounds for a whole lot of causes as soon as you lose weight as there’ll
    be many constructive changes. You discover, weight not
    just affects the method that youare appeared as if, in addition,
    it affects life’s sum total quality, just how you
    think about health and fitness, anxiety, health threats and
    oneself. In reality itis the precise reverse approach you must consider – and it can be proven by me!

  48. Great blog here! Also your website lots up very fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I am getting your affiliate link in your host?
    I want my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  49. Thanks for finally writing about >What it Means to Say Im Sorry | ThePreachersWord <Loved it!

  50. I do not even know how I finished up right here,
    however I thought this post was once good. I don’t understand who you’re however certainly you’re going to a famous blogger in the event you
    aren’t already. Cheers!

  51. Please call today or fill in the contact form for a full breakdown of how our
    clients SEO campaigns are structured and how SEO Premier can tailor a bespoke solution perfect for you business.

  52. Great blog here! Also your website lots up very fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I am getting your affiliate link in your host?
    I want my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  53. Get the greatest guitar, so that you do not come across anyy troubles later on.
    You could also buy some guitar tab computer software and practice the notations.

  54. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and without a
    doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough folks are
    speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I stumbled across
    this during my hunt for something concerning

  55. I am no longer certain the place you’re getting your info, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time studying more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for great information I was in search of this information for my mission.

  56. Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Going
    through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He constantly kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this information to him.

    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  57. I am now not certain where you are getting your
    information, but great topic. I must spend a while studying more or
    working out more. Thank you for great information I used
    to be looking for this information for my mission.

  58. Presentamos el nuevo diseño de nuestra web de cams.

  59. Hi I am so happy I found your blog, I really found you by mistake,
    while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I am here now and
    would just like to say thank you for a tremendous post and a
    all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but
    I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be
    back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the great work.

  60. Cuentas con un equipo a tu disposición, llámanos escríbenos, vamos a estar encantados de ayudarte.

  61. Good way of telling, and good piece of writing to take information concerning
    my presentation subject matter, which i am going to deliver in university.

  62. Excellent website you have here but I was curious if
    you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get advice from other experienced people
    that share the saje interest. If you have aany suggestions, ppease let me
    know. Many thanks!

  63. I was extremely pleased to discover this great site.
    I need to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!!
    I definitely really liked every part of it and I have you saved as
    a favorite to look at new information on your blog.

  64. Bringing this down to the common man who wishes to
    be entertained by this wonderful features it simply
    means all the things one has encountered as a flying experience be it as a pilot or a passenger could also be be
    experienced by downloading the most realistic online simulator in the comfort of
    your home and computer. If the family picks to hire privately, they need to consult a lawyer and an accountant to
    assure that they make proper arrangements for all of their obligations.
    They are not allowed to vote until they’ve reached the
    age of majority, or 18.

  65. There is definately a lot to learn about this issue.

    I love all of the points you have made.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.