Lessons from an 8-year-old on how to be sorry

Posted By | March 14, 2019 10:19 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

“Love means you never have to ‘I’m sorry.’”

Those words, or some variation thereof, have been repeated on screen, in music, and through the medium of cartoon drawings enough times to qualify as “an old saying.” But is the adage accurate?

Not long after, Grayson’s 8th birthday and a few days before Anderson’s 6th, the boys returned to Bristol for a joint celebration. Upon their arrival at our historic residence in our historic neighborhood, the boys shared in exuberance how they loved our old house…and the people that live in it. They are so stinking cute.

Following a long-standing tradition, the next morning, Nahnee and Papa took them to Starbucks for breakfast. As we drove across town, we talked about “things” both past and present. Our route took us over streets they used to ride across daily on their way to preschool, at Apple Academy, reminding them of their dear friends, teachers, and pastors there.

“This brings back lots of memories!” G stated very solemnly.

As we continued to talk about those special times, almost 6-year-old Anderson spoke, imitating his mature brother, “Yeah! This sure brings back a lot of ‘rememberies!’”

Sammie and I tried to contain our delight.

Before we dived into our meal, I asked who should say the blessing and was appointed as designated prayer. We were hungry and in a hurry, so I was careful to make it brief. Following the “amen,” I asked Grayson if my prayer was OK. He replied, impishly, “I’ve heard better.”  (Well, “…from the mouths of babes…”).

As we consumed our breakfast sandwiches and croissants, Sammie spoke to the boys, “Boys, you know that Nahnee and Papa love you very much. Don’t you?”

Mouths full, they nodded eagerly and grunted in affirmation, “Uh-huh!”

“…and you know,” she continued, “your mom and dad, Poopsie    and Pop, and G-daddy and Rahrah all love you very much, but guess what! As much as all of us love you, God loves you even more!”

Proceeding with the grandmother teaching moment, Nahnee  questioned her young students, “Do you ever hurt someone you love?”

They acknowledged that indeed this sometimes happened.

“And what do you do?”

In unison, “You say, ‘I’m sorry!’”

“How do you show someone you are really sorry?”

Without hesitation G responded emphatically, “You don’t ever do it again!”

Let’s be honest. Never doing it again is often difficult…sometimes almost impossible, but really being sorry demonstrates itself in action, regret, repentance. At times, “do-overs” are required. Still it’s all about a change of heart. Meaning it!

The cliché we started with is faulty. Love does NOT mean you    never have to say, “I’m sorry.” Instead, love means you MEAN it when you say, “I’m sorry.”

The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “Godly sorrow leads to repentance…”

When you hurt someone you love – and especially when you recognize you have sinned against God – say you’re sorry, mean it, and show it!

Steve Playl, chaplain, columnist, college instructor and former pastor, playlsr@yahoo.com. 

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