Is “I’m Sorry” Really An Apology?

I’ve said, “I’m Sorry,” man more times than I can ever remember.  There are those times when you feel as though you owe those words to someone for something that has occurred or that didn’t happen when it should have.  I know people that are pathological apologizers with the “I’m Sorry” symptoms on grand display for the world to see.  At least, we would begin to think about them being apologizers by using this would…but is “I’m sorry” really the apology grandiose?  Think about it?

Isn’t saying, “I’m sorry,” just a polite way of saying, “I’m scum,” “I’m a worm,” “I’m worthless,” or “I just have no excuse, so these are my escape words?”

I don’t want to just play a game with semantics.  I just know that I really desire to think through the words I use in my conversations.  Also, I do not want to live in the “sorry mentality,” but to step towards what really brings us closer to the life that God would have us to live out.

From the Scripture:

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

-1 Peter 3:15 NASB

This is a familiar verse in Christian circles, but if you are not familiar with the verse, here is the summary.  The Apostle Peter, in a letter to followers of Jesus, is sharing one of the ways to live in worship and obedience.  And these ways are:

  • First, to set Jesus as first in their hearts.
  • Second, to (in the greek terminology) present an apology (apologia)  for Jesus being Who He Is.


That’s right… an apology.  But this doesn’t mean giving an “I’m Sorry,” for Jesus.  There is absolutely nothing “sorry” about Who Jesus is or to be “sorry” for when it comes to living for Jesus.

Why an apology then?  Doesn’t that mean an automatic “i’m sorry” answer?  No! Not at all!  In our culture we think “being sorry” is an adequate apology, but here is the truth.  “I’m sorry,” is not an 100% authentic apology.  “I’m sorry” is our excuse for an apology most times.

This word apology (greek root=apologia) is a philosophical, legal, and Biblical term that means so much more than what we have come to think it means.  It means to give an actual account, explanation, and even defense of what has been laid before the eyes of a witness or witnesses

To give an apology does not mean to weakly shrug off the responsibility of a moment.  It does mean that we seriously consider our words, our actions, our love, our faith, & our sincerity of the apology (explanation, defense).  This is where believers get the term, apologetics.  It doesn’t mean we are sorry about the whole “Jesus as God” thing.  In fact it is the complete opposite, and our apology is one of excitement, honor, and responsibility!

This is why being a genuine witness for Jesus Christ as a believer is not only important and frequently talked about, but it is an act of worship and obedience.

Quick Thoughts On Apology or Apologetics:

1) I’m sorry is not really an adequate or authentic apology in the truest sense of apology.

2) Being a worshipper of Jesus & witness for Him is not something to cower from or to say that we are “sorry” for.  He is God Himself.  He is Holy & He has provided a way for us to know Him as God.  This Christian relationship with God is something He accomplished by the wrath of the Cross and the power over death to overcome the grave.

3) To worship Jesus in Spirit & Truth (see John 4:23-24), we must find our satisfaction in all that Jesus Christ is & to Sanctify Him in our hearts (in other words: Set Him as the first and  the foremost above all other people & things of this life).  This has life changing effects as the Holy Spirit moves in power over and through us.

4) As a believer in Jesus Christ, we are to be ready to give a unique & authentic case (apology, defense, explanation) for the Hope that is within us and can only be found in the grace of Jesus Christ.

5) When we present our apology(case, defense, explanation), we must do so with the character and integrity that honors God and shows authentic love to others.

  • with humility – there is no room for pride…God does the work. Not us.
  • with empathy – there has to be understanding of a heart without Jesus as dead & lost & without hope.  Let us see and hear the other person for who they are…a person that needs Jesus more than anything else.
  • with sincerity – there is no room for “being fake” when it comes to presenting the truth of God. Pray for the people you share with.  Pray for your heart to truly love them.
  • with clarity – there is no excuse for us to neglect the growth that God desires in our lives. We must be growing in our understanding of Him and His Word (the Scriptures) by giving our time and our lives to learn, know, accept, and apply His truth.
I truly hope that all of this has made sense and didn’t seem like a pointless rambling. I desire to be sincere in my conversations with others. And that not when I present the Gospel but in my everyday walk they see character, integrity, thoughtfulness, and genuine concern for others. I have not always lived my life in this way and I do regret the witness I once was.
More than anything, I want others to know Who Jesus is and what He has done not only for me but the world.  He called this dead man (spiritually) to life.  I was lost, but now I am found.  I was blind but now I see.  He offers the same to everyone.
Grace…Amazing Grace.