I’m Wrong And I’m Sorry

Five words that every leader show know and use. Indeed, five words for us all to use appropriately.

“I’m wrong, and I’m sorry.”

When is the last time you heard a leader, especially a political leader or a church leader or leader of a large organization, say that publicly?

They almost always say, “I made a mistake.” And that’s it.

Sorry should always imply a repentance. An acknowledgement that I was going down the wrong path, that I see clearly that I am on the wrong path, and that I have decided to travel on the right path.

I have read in developmental psychology, but I can’t remember everything I’ve read. I do know children for whom the phrase “I’m sorry” has no meaning except maybe “Please don’t punish me.”

It is true that words can be used with no emotion behind them. So, we, the ones who have been offended, have only to wait and see if there was true repentance and change of heart, or if it was merely a use of words because the PR people said you’d better use them.

Last Friday I happened to be by a TV when the commissioner of the National Football League, or the National Felons League as a friend of mine puts it, finally had to face the public music.

Suddenly the cover over the actions of the athletes who participate in a sport made increasingly violent by people like the Commissioner was blown by one, then many, stories about domestic violence. The Commissioner initially made a pathetic statement that entirely missed the target. Then he went into hiding.

Friday, he came out to say something. He began, “I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” His media relations people learned the lesson of appropriate language. Now we’ll see if he has truly repented.

But how about us? How often do we use the words to get ourselves out of a jam? How often do we repent, ask God for help, and try again to get on the path of walking with Jesus? These are important questions to reflect upon daily.

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