Sorry. How often do you use this word? Some people use it regularly whenever a request is made. Others might even laughingly say, “sorry, not sorry” to make a joke. This simply word that contains so much heartfelt meaning has been overused, diluted, and sadly misused. Yes, it is one of my pet peeves.
I hear it often. “Sorry.” When someone pushes into me in a restaurant or store, they just use that one word. If someone declines an invitation, I hear “sorry, I can’t.” Sometimes I need assistance with something and hear “sorry, I wish I could.” Mostly I hear this when people learn that my husband is no longer living. People are so sorry. Pun intended.
The word sorry comes from the Old English word sarig, meaning pained or distressed. Our current dictionary defines sorry as:
1 feeling distress especially through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune
2 feeling regret or penitence
It can also mean:
1 in a poor or pitiful state
2 unpleasant or regrettable on account of incompetence or misbehavior
Now, let me ask, when you tell someone you are sorry, are you pained, distressed, or penitent? Not many are. Don’t get me wrong, of course there are times we say the word with accuracy. However, how many times have we flippantly tossed out a “sorry” without a second thought?
My point is, we need to apologize and seek forgiveness. Scripture says: “If you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go —first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering”(Matthew 5:23-24). It is hard to make amends without using the word sorry, and that is why we must be careful to properly use it. We need to preserve that word’s integrity.
Choose your words carefully. Be sincere. Don’t overuse a word or phrase until its meaning is just a whisper of what it was. The good news is that this is just my opinion. I would love to hear yours.