When my kids were little and got into fights, I would separate them and demand… “Tell your brother/sister you’re sorry… NOW!” And of course they would say the words with great passion and rebellion, “I’M SORRY!!” But they no more meant it than anything.
I’m coming to the conclusion that the words “I’m sorry” don’t go far enough. Saying them doesn’t show or prove much of anything… including admission of guilt. “I’m sorry” is a statement that just hangs in the air.
I’m coming to the conclusion that this would be much better… “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” That contains an admission of guilt… expresses repentance… and requests a response. When/if we speak those words, there is a much better chance for discussion and restoration.
Of course it goes without saying that there is genuine humility and brokenness preceding those being said. After all… just saying words mean nothing! AND, people know when we’re not honest in our communication.
Were someone to hurt you and then say with genuine humility, “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” Wouldn’t you be more inclined to forgive than if they just said, “I’m sorry?” Not only that… next time you fail someone try using those phrases and see if reconciliation happens easier and quicker.