How Should We Treat Someone Who Messed Up?

In our culture we have worn out the phrase, “I’m sorry.” We use it for everything from, “I’m sorry, but we’re out of peanuts,” to “I’m sorry I bumped into you.” But the words “I’m sorry” originally meant, “I’m experiencing sorrow over what I did.” In Corinthians 7, Paul writes about sorrow and repentance. “I am happy not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance…godly sorrow brings repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:9). So the Bible teaches that godly sorrow produces repentance. There is a kind of worldly sorrow that doesn’t lead to repentance. When someone says, “I’m sorry” they might be saying, “I’m sorry I got caught.” Or if they say, “I’m sorry” but they don’t plan on changing their behavior, that isn’t godly sorrow. Godly sorrow always produces repentance. When a person truly repents, their heart is broken over their sin.