Skip to content ↓

Sorry Doesn’t Know How to Count

I have no idea where she picked it up, but my daughter has begun to answer my son’s apologies with the phrase, “Sorry doesn’t know how to count!” She may have made it up. Wherever she got the phrase from, she does not seem to understand what it should logically mean. To her it means something like, “I don’t accept your apology.” In reality I suppose the phrase should be concerned with grace, with saying, like Jesus, that we should forgive an infinite number of offenses.

I have been teaching the children about apologizing. One thing I have been trying to help them understand is that there are two words that do not belong in a proper apology: “if” and “but.” Just the other day I saw a situation on television where a person said, “I’m sorry if I offended you.” I don’t think that is a real apology at all. There is something objective about an offense. Either the person offended the other or he did not. He should not, then, apologize if the other person was offended, but he should apologize that the other person was offended. So I am trying to teach the children that, before they apologize, they should know who they offended and why that person was offended. They will then be able to make a heartfelt apology – an apology based on the knowledge of their own poor behavior.

I have also been teaching them that an apology does not include the word “but.” We all know these apologies. “I’m sorry I did that, but…” The “but” is simply the person’s way of showing that while he may feel apologetic he is not truly so, for he clearly believes that the fault really lies with the other person. “I’m sorry I smacked you, but I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t taken my toy.” That is no apology. Again, an apology is an acknowledgement of a transgression against some objective standard. Regardless of why my child sinned, he should be able to see and understand his own guilt without blaming the other party. This sounds an awful lot like Adam’s protest when he said to God, “But the woman you gave me…”

So there we have it, two tiny little words, but ones that may prove an apology to be anything but sincere.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 20)

    A La Carte: How hell motivates holiness / The bond of love / How to love our friends in truth, even when it stings / The distorting power of the prosperity gospel / Thinking about plagues / and more.

  • A Difference Making Ministry for Any Christian

    A Difference-Making Ministry for Any Christian

    The experience of preaching is very different from the front than from the back, when facing the congregation than when facing the preacher. The congregation faces one man who is doing his utmost to be engaging, to hold their attention, and to apply truths that will impact their hearts and transform their lives.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 19)

    A La Carte: Courageous pastors or overbearing leaders? / Jesus didn’t diss the poor / 8 qualities of true revival / Why don’t you talk about the sermon? / The idol of competence / The danger of inhospitality / and more.

  • Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    It is something we have all observed at one time or another and something we have all wondered about. Why is it that those who seem most likely to come to Christ so often reject him? Why is it that those hear the boldest invitations and who have the greatest opportunities so commonly turn away?…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (February 17)

    A La Carte: Think you’re immune to adultery? / One of the most hopeful reminders about sanctification / What do we do with dreams and visions? / Have you ever asked your church elders to visit and pray for you? / The neurodivergent believer / Preaching advice for busy pastors / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Open the Bible)

    This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by Open the Bible. They encourage you to enter to win a series of books from Open the Bible and Pastor Colin Smith! Included in the giveaway are: For All Who Grieve by Pastor Colin Smith. Written with compassion and understanding, yet honestly facing the difficult questions that…