Let’s face it. There are times when we really screw up so bad that things will never be right. That would be the case, say if in anger you were to drive off in a huff and tear into another car and kill someone. Or say while half drunk you accidentally fire off a round from a 30.6 into the foot of another and it results in an amputation.
I’m expressing situations here where simply saying you’re sorry doesn’t rectify the bad situation. Here, the damage we inflicted can’t be reversed. Sure you tell someone that you’re sorry you killed their mate or kid in a car tragedy, but somehow that just doesn’t cut it. The same is true where you blew away his foot. A simply apology just doesn’t bring back the poor man’s foot.
But also true as in all cases of forgiveness somewhere along the line a point of repentance should be in order. A simply apology just doesn’t mend things. Generally speaking change is in order and that change should be effectuated by the offender.
We can look to the Apostle Paul as an example. Here is a guy who killed Christians but went on later to be the largest Christian advocate ever. No, he couldn’t reverse the damage he had inflicted on the lives of Saints, but his repentance did result in a complete and total reversal of behavior.
Chances are though you and I aren’t going to become an Apostle Paul due to our screw ups. And thus, we should attempt to avoid screw ups with all due diligence. And when we do eventually mess up, we should immediately pray for guidance and forgiveness. If we are lucky our contrite heart will force change upon us.
Yet, I say we can’t just rest on those thoughts. Messing up is bad enough and harming people in the process is terrible. So insomuch we can achieve forgiveness through Christ, we must also acknowledge our long lasting consequence of damage we inflict on others.