Monday, January 20, 2014

Sometimes Sorry is not Enough

Repent for your sins. That is what I grew up hearing my entire childhood into adolescence. But sin was a far off concept that meant cheating on a vocabulary test or lying about my grades. Understanding what sin meant was hard enough, but repenting for an idea I really knew nothing about was even harder. On the nights I remembered I muttered a quick sorry to the man in the sky right before I fell asleep. It was convenient. I congratulated myself for having remembered to feel sorry about cheating and slept better knowing no matter what I did that all would be forgiven. When I finally understood what sin was it made me feel disgusting and asking for forgiveness was the only way to feel clean. 

We see the word sorry thrown around too often. When we catch children running in the hall, they say sorry because we tell them to. The minute we turn our backs, there they are doing the same thing we just yelled at them not to do and that they apologized for. Adolescents are a little smarter. This time when mother scolds them for having a messy room they whip our their attempt at a sincere apology. After all it is their room and they see nothing wrong with it, why should they have to apologize. However, an apology means no more nagging and no nagging is a good thing.

By the time we are adults we are more emotionally mature. Now we can finally offer a sincere apology, right? You just got into a fight with a friend and the both of you exchanged horrible insults such as "You're such a slut you slept with the entire football team" and "Your face is so disgusting it looks like the doctor mauled you with the ugly stick." Afterwards you claim that you didn't actually mean what you said and it was all in the moment. You genuinely feel bad and offer a sincere apology for hurting their feelings. All is well.

It shouldn't end there. Feeling bad about the other person because their feelings were hurt is not enough. An apology for the immediate after effects of hurt may soothe the problem temporarily but if we do not apologize for the underlying cause of the problem then the hurt will continue. There would be no sin without sinners. We are the sinner; repentance is an apology not only for our sin but for ourselves. 

The moment I had found God and realized he deserved so much more than what I was giving him I knew that I needed to change and directed my apologies not to what I had done but as to who I was. All those years of addicted masturbation, wasted time spent on self-loathing, and committing living suicide by numbing my life in alcoholic binge-drinking opened my eyes to my sin and my real-self. I could no longer hide behind excuses justifying my drinking as something that was social and that all college kids did. Feeling bad about what I had done was no longer enough because I found myself still doing it. I needed to own up to my actions and take full blame for being a drinker, masturbator and ultimately, a sinner. 

With my sin pouring out of me as a disgusting and evil stain I could not imagine myself bringing my filth and muddied shoes into the house of God to ask for forgiveness. I realized I didn't need to. Jesus died on the cross to wash away my sin and was resurrected to open the door for me before I could even ask to come in. 

Even if you don't believe in God you still need to know how to say sorry. If you are going through a time in your life where you find yourself needing change, stop making excuses. Stop making excuses to yourself by saying you were too busy and that you'll get it done later and just admit you are just lazy. Forgive yourself and move on. Hate yourself enough to change but love enough to give yourself a 2nd, 3rd, and 90th chance. No one is perfect except for God and you may never become the person you are trying to become but that isn't the point. You can only do your best and that is all anyone can ever ask for. 

Sometimes sorry isn't enough. If you are truly sorry you need to change, or at least try to. Accept yourself for who you are, forgive yourself for who you aren't, and keep striving to be the person you want to be.

If all else fails become a dog and win sympathy. 

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