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A Sorry excuse for Sorry

Today I came across an article on ESPN where Jeff Fisher, coach of the Tennessee Titans (who have as many wins in the NFL as I do right now) apparently upset some people by wearing a Colts jersey while introducing former Colts coach, Tony Dungy during a charity event.

Understandably, some fans and radio personalities have raised a fuss about a coach who lost last week by 59 points wearing the jersey of another team.
Let me first say that I don't particularly care about either side to this trivial story. Football is a game. Nothing that I'm about to say should be taken to indicate I care very deeply about this situation. I care more for the principle at play and how I see this reflected in society as a whole.

According to the article, Fischer did something that I believe reflects a very poor use and understanding of an apology. This is Coach Fisher's direct quote from the article: "I'm sorry if I offended anybody but if I had to do it again, I would do it again."

Coach Fisher is not unique in his definition of an apology. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this type of apology between people. I can't tell you how many people I've met who believe this is an acceptable approach to their relationship with God.

Apologies to People:
"My bad, but I'd do it again."

When you give an apology you are admitting fault.
At the very least you are admitting regret that your ignorance caused harm. What an apology is not is what Coach Fisher expressed. If a person is sorry it means they genuinely repent. They wish they could go back and do things completely different.

We can't have healthy relationships without healthy repentance.
If we believe a healthy repentance is to say "I apologize but I'd cause the same harm again." A true apology is admitting fault and expressing a sincere desire that things would have been done completely differently.

Apologies to God:
"My bad, but I'd do it again."

The scripture is full of examples where God encourages us to live with integrity.
God's word goes as far to say that even our thought life should be lived above reproach. We are called to a higher standard under the grace of Christ, not a lower one. Fortunately for us, in Christ we are forgiven of much. Our knowledge of how short we fall is no longer simply a reflection of how far off the mark we are but rather it is now used as a springboard to giving God more praise, honor and loyalty with our lives.

We are called as His children to present ourselves as living sacrifices because He first sacrificed himself for us. So when we sin our response can't be "My bad God, but I'd do it again."

If you want to see a genuine apology check out Psalm 51.

Psalm 51

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts a]">[a] ;
you teach b]">[b] me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.

14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 The sacrifices of God are c]">[c] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, October 21, 2009


At 12:48 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

I love that Psalm. It truly shows David's heartfelt remorse, his sorrow, his broken heart as he honestly acknowledges his sin. That's why he is one of my all time Bible heroes. David was a man after God's heart, but he was still a man who sinned mightily but truly repented and who was pretty transparent.

Good article Tally


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