I read an article this week from Christianity Today about “The Struggle to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ in Public.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not surprised at all by the suggestion made in the article that it can be a struggle.

For many it is not just a struggle to say “I’m Sorry” in public, it is a struggle to say “I’m Sorry” in private. Earlier this week I had forgotten something my wife told me and I was curt with her on the phone. After almost 45 years of marriage I have made some progress; I called her to apologize and she graciously accepted it.

Why is it hard for some to say “I’m Sorry” in public or in private? It seems obvious to me – to say “I’m Sorry” is to acknowledge that we said or did something we should not have done or said. In other words it is to admit you were wrong about something. And that is hard for a lot of people.

Often we are embarrassed when we admit we were wrong about something. And depending upon exactly what we are sorry about, it may be extremely embarrassing. I see no reason to apologize publicly for something unless the misdeed is widely known. Otherwise, our apology should simply be offered to the person or persons directly involved.

I have a sense that for some people it isn’t hard to say “I’m sorry.” As a matter of fact it seems easy for them to apologize – too easy. And that raises a yellow flag for me. Years ago a lady came to me frustrated because her husband would apologize to her, but then in no time do the same thing again. I asked her what she thought that was all about and she indicated he probably didn’t really mean he was sorry. I think she was right; and that’s why when it seems too easy for someone to apologize it raises a yellow flag for me.

It may seem strange to some, but I find myself at times saying “I’m Sorry” to God in my prayers when I am acknowledging (confessing) my shortcomings. And my shortcomings include not only things that I’ve done or said I should not have done or said, but also leaving out things I should have done or said. For me, saying “I’m Sorry” to God is part of my expression of repentance.

I’m not surprised it is a struggle for any of us at times to say we are sorry – in public or in private, to loved ones or our wider circle, or to God himself. Hopefully it never becomes too easy to the point that saying “I’m Sorry” doesn’t mean much. I’m convinced that saying “I’m Sorry” is not just good for those to whom we say it, but it is also good for us to say it – if we mean it!

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