“Sometimes sorry isn’t enough,”. . .

. . . is a phrase I’ve heard people say. As we approach Yom Kippur, or the Day of Attonement, I think more about repentance. If I’ve wronged someone, I say to the person “I’m sorry.” If I said to you that I’m sorry, would you reply, “Sorry isn’t enough”? No, I don’t think so. I think, as we grew up, we learned to say “I’m sorry” from parents and teachers, and to accept “I’m sorry” as enough. Before my kids were in school, they attended a “learning center” that functioned as both a preschool and a day care. It was expected that if one child wronged another, the children would make up with “I’m sorry.” Somehow that was all that was needed. Sorry was enough.

Last week I cited Job’s “repent in dust and ashes.” In this citation, according to my Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, the Hebrew word used as repent is Nacham. It means to draw the breath forcibly, to pant, to grieve, to feel repentance. The idea of breathing deeply was a physical display of one’s feeling, usually sorrow, but also compassion and comfort.  In Job’s case, it seems that he grieved for his flawed understanding, and looking toward G-d, accepting G-d’s supremacy in all things.

My study Bible also states that, usually, when it is man repenting, the word used is a verb, shuwb, that entails “to turn” from sin to G-d. There is an action involved. At BibleStudyTools.com, in a definition of repentance, it states: “Two requisites of repentance included in sub are “to turn from evil, and to turn to the good.” Most critical theologically is the idea of returning to God, or turning away from evil. If one turns away from God, apostasy is indicated.” This turning “goes beyond sorrow and contrition.

So perhaps saying “Sorry” isn’t enough. Billy Graham put it this way, “Repentance begins with admitting your sin and agreeing with God about it. [emphasis added]

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Psalm 51:4

Sin against G-d creates a rift. “True sorrow then can cause you to turn from any specific sinful act and to pray for God’s help in resisting temptation,” says Billy Graham. “When you repent, [your] relationship with God is restored.”

True sorrow has an element of compassion, which is mentioned as a meaning in the definition of Nachem. We understand our own misdeeds from the perspective of the person on the receiving end. When we say “I’m sorry,” it must come not only from being sorry for ourselves, but from what we’ve done to others, how our actions affected them. Especially, this is true for the rift we create in shutting out our Creator, our Lord and G-d. For G-d, Who created us, wants to walk with us. In a very real sense, G-d desires with us what He had with Adam in the Garden before “The Fall.” It is to this end:

that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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