Saturday, February 14, 2009

Being Sorry

Our current culture of regret is becoming overwhelming.
Everyone's sorry.

Yes, many men are sorry, but few are expected to pay consequences for their actions and rectify what they have done. There is no personal responsibility. (Some have greater or lesser consequences on the public and perhaps should be so judged.)

These include:

US Bankers on Capitol Hill
British Bankers at the G7
US Automotive Executives on Capitol Hill
John Thain
Tom Daschle
Tim Geithner
Ted Haggard
Michael Phelps

"We hear words, words, words," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y. to banking executives on Capitol hill.

What are words without demonstrated actions?

Yes, we will accept apologies, but in most cases simply saying sorry is just not good enough.


Anonymous said...

"What are words without demonstrated actions?"

So true, actions speak louder than words - they aren't sorry. They just say it to appease.

judith ellis said...

"Actions speak louder than words -they aren't sorry."

I love that, Meena. Thank you.

Brosreview said...

True, a few Indians ridicule English speakers as they use the word "sorry".

After committing a mistake of any magnitude, people expect to be forgiven merely by using a word - SORRY.

I, for one, believe in penance more than regret.

Anonymous said...

welcome Judith.

Penance - repentance, atonement...

judith ellis said...

Brosreview - I understand completely. I also believe in grace and forgiveness. But it is this culture of sorry that I sought to address here, one that negates actions and simply elevate meaningless words without consequences or true repentance.

From a pure state of forgiveness, Jesus told the woman who was caught in the "very act of adultery" to "go and sin no more." (It's funny that the woman was brought to Jesus and not the man. After all, she was caught in the "very act." Where was he?) Jesus' response speaks to the culture and not the action or deed itself. He knew that she would miss the mark again. We all do daily.

There are also scriptures which speak of having an advocate once such actions are committed. (Boy, am I glad for that--really! I forever miss the mark!) I, for one, am not a judge of others missing the mark or which has been missed to a greater or lesser degree, though there is the matter of impact on others to consider. If I do harm to myself that’s one thing, but if my actions affect others that’s something else.

We are justified by our actions continuously. In a culture of sorry it is the words only that matter, not the effort to do things differently or BE different.

judith ellis said...

Meena - I like your circle of life: penance, repentance, atonement. To that I'd like to add change: penance, repentance, atonement, change - from glory to glory, betterment to betterment. Though we fall, we get up.

CJ said...

I learned really early in life that "sorry" doesn't let you off the hook as easily as we would like.

So I try to live in such a way towards my mom, my wife, my pastor, and my coworkers--in such a way that asking for forgiveness does not become necessary.

Because I know that if I mess up too many times on the job (and sometimes, even once!)--at home, or wherever...I could get fired, my marriage could end in divorce, or whatever. I am reminded of the Scripture that says, "Whosoever knoweth what is right, and doeth it not, the same is a sinner." (I am paraphrasing, mind you).

Although there is forgiveness with God, and I can tap into it many times, that tap will, like any other well, run dry eventually, and we will face an angry Judge. He says, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." Very sobering thoughts.

So if I do mess up, I must ask myself, "Am I really sorry that I made a mess of things, or am I just sorry that I could lose my job, my career, my wife, as a result--whether it's having that affair with a high school sweetheart, or something as mundane as leaving the toilet seat up for the twentieth time?

Sin is sin to God. Whether I steal a car, or merely forget to give my wife an important, time-sensitive message.

I believe in pennance, regret, repentance--true repentance, and in consistently doing what is right forever after that incident. And I hold myself to that high of a standard. Ideally, I believe in thinking and praying things through before taking a given action.

But if I make a mistake of any magnitude--little sin or big sin, all is sin--I am prepared to accept the consequences, as opposed to doing a Rod Blagojevich, for instance--the everybody's picking on me kind of thing.

I mean, I found myself talking back to the TV alot of times. "Blagojevich, they are after you because you tried to sell a Senate seat, no other reason!"


Anonymous said...

SO true...I had complete forgotten reform :)

judith ellis said...

I hear you, CJ - Personally, by far more than quoting any scripture, I try to live in a way that my life reflects God's love. My ideas of religion are often counter to what some believe to be. In any event, where love is being taught, I rejoice. God is love.

I'm also respectful of those who choose not to believe in God and those who do not follow such principles. But whether you believe or not, if you break the law or if your ethics cause such as the finacial crisis, the retribution should be the same. Belief is not at the crux here; money and power are.

As we know, many of those that were before the Congress are believers in God. Many may even quote scripture. This and of itself matters not to me. Growing up in the 70's, my uncle had a church of 10,000+ members. Some were the meanest loveless people that I have ever met. In fact, Jesus, himself spoke against such people often.

I love Meena's circle of life.

judith ellis said...

Ah, Meena, the base of your circle of life is beautiful. Thank you.