Despite what we thought when we were young and our parents forced us to say “I’m sorry” to our siblings, saying “I’m sorry” is easy compared to actually feeling and being sorrowful.
The two are different. Sorry relates to an action. We convey we are sorry for something we did or didn’t do and how it impacted the person. Being sorrowful is more about our process of it, our expression of it, and what it motivates us to convey to someone else. We’re grieved, distressed, or saddened.
Sorry might reflect someone’s sorrow, but it might also be an attempt to patch something. Sorrow takes the healing deeper, not just in the one receiving it but also in the person who extends it.
Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. (2 Corinthians 7:9)
Sorrow is productive. It leads somewhere. It leads through repentance to growth, because repentance is always a productive change. Sorrow doesn’t ever get us stuck. Sorrow seeks to change what is in us and how we impact others. It’s not destructive, wallowing, or selfish…ever.
We toss around “I’m sorry” as if it’s an easy step back, erasing whatever we’ve done, but it’s not going back at all. It’s moving forward in healing, change, and growth. It often takes time, but we’re willing to invest and wait over time so that healing and change is authentic and lasting. Sorrow is an investment to build on solid ground. It’s not an easy process, but it’s well worth the time and effort.
How do you need to step into and through sorrow with God, yourself, and others?