How sorry is sorry? – Biblical Meaning

OPEN: (We put an image of a “Sorry” game board on the screen)

How many of you recognize this game board? And how many of you have ever played it? says that the Sorry game is the fifth best-selling board game on its site.


But sorry, it’s not really an original game. It is one of many variations of a game that originated in India called Parcheesi. There are other games based on the same concept and they have names like:

• Aggravation

• Problem

• Frustration

• And there’s even a game called “Wahoo”

While researching this sermon, I found a picture of one of the boxes that Sorry was sold in and found the tagline on the box called it “The Game of Sweet Revenge”. And I thought at the time… that’s a strange phrase to describe a game called “Sorry”. We don’t usually connect the word “sorry” with “revenge” – but apparently the company that owns it thought it was a great idea.

In fact, in a 1994 TV ad for the game ( that was just the idea. Ben Stein was portrayed as a tiresome teacher trying to teach his students about forgiveness. “Always remember to forgive and forget,” he says.

But the children have nothing to do with it… they are playing Sorry, the game of ‘sweet revenge’. And the voiceover from the commercial says “I’ll get you for that!”

At the heart of the game is the recognition that saying “I’m sorry” is not exactly the same as BEING sorry. And actually that is true.

Did you notice that the Bible never uses the words “I’m sorry” OR “you should repent”. I looked it up! But on the contrary, the words “forgive”, “excuse me, “forgiven” and “sorry” appear at least 119 times by my count.

But why would that be?

Why would God prefer us to say “forgive me” than to say “I’m sorry?”

Well, because SORRY doesn’t ask for a response.

(At this point I went down to the audience and used a couple of people as part of the sermon)

Let’s just say when I pulled into the parking lot this morning I ran into Roy’s car. So I walk up to Roy and say “I’m sorry.”


Does Roy have to answer that? No, he doesn’t, does he? I simply expressed that I am sorry and that I am not looking for him to say anything in return.

But now, let’s say I drove out to the parking lot and I ran over to Dave’s car here and I’m like, “Dave, will you forgive me?”

(wait for an answer)

You see, when I ask for forgiveness, I’m asking for an answer.

Saying “I’m sorry” is actually the easy way out. Because if I had to apologize I would risk getting an answer I don’t want to hear. If I apologize to Dave, what is one of the worst responses I can expect?


Asking for forgiveness exposes me to the potential of being rejected and humiliated. I do not want to do that. So I may be more inclined to tell you something that doesn’t ask you to say anything in response. Overlook saying “I’m sorry”

Saying “I’m sorry” is much easier than saying “I’m sorry.”

And God doesn’t want us to go to Him and just say “sorry.”

That doesn’t mean that regretting is a bad thing. In 2 Corinthians 7:9 Paul says

“…now I am happy, not because they have repented, but because their sadness led them to repentance…”

Their repentance led them to repent.

Their pain led them to want to change their lives.

And that was a good thing.

But, too many times people will repent but never repent and never change. That’s why God never tells us to just be sorry. That is not enough for Him.

He wants our pain to lead us to repent and ask for forgiveness.

He wants our pain to lead us to want to change our lives.

And if we are willing to ask for forgiveness – if we are willing to confess our sins to him, admit that we have been wrong and humble ourselves before him, then God promises that he will forgive us.

In 1 John 1:9, I said, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”

I don’t want to get too technical with the original Greek of that verse, but it’s basically saying that every time we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness… God forgives. Every time.

ILLUS: One man explained it like this: In college, a group of guys from his dorm went to a nice restaurant before Christmas break to celebrate the end of their first semester as freshmen. His roommate, whom he loved the new policy restaurants were adopting back then – unlimited soda refills – so that night he drank Pepsi and Pepsi after Pepsi.

Now what I didn’t know was that this particular restaurant didn’t offer free refills. And so… they charged him for each of the drinks he had received. And she nearly fell out of her chair when the waiter brought her the bill. (Bob Okay)

You see, your friend WAS EXPECTING to get free recharges.

What he received was a bill that he had to pay for ALL the soft drinks he had drunk. she had that night.

And that illustrates the difference between how the world does things and how God does things. The world expects us to pay for every sin we commit. There is no forgiveness of sins in their minds, just a bill at the end for each sin.

But with God, when we apologize, it’s like we’ve gotten a night of free refills. Over and over and over again, every time we confess we’re wrong, God takes it off our bill…and we don’t have to pay for it.

Isn’t that great?

No other religion in the world offers something so comforting, because this is God’s offer… it is not religion.

But now, there is a caveat here.

There is a condition that Jesus sets for us to be forgiven.

Jesus said, when we pray we should say “Forgive us our debts…”

But how are we supposed to have our “debts” or sins forgiven?

Thus it is “…as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12

In other words, we should expect God to forgive us in the same way that we forgive others. And, in case we missed the point here… Jesus adds at the end of the Lord’s Prayer these words:

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father WILL NOT FORGIVE your sins.”

Matthew 6:14-15


That does not sound good!

In fact, it sounds a bit harsh.

Why would God make such a demanding statement like this?

Well, a few reasons come to mind.

First, we should do that for others…because God did that for us.

Do you remember how great it was to realize that we don’t have to PAY for all our sins? That God would forgive us as many times as we asked him?

At one point in his ministry, Jesus was teaching his disciples about forgiveness and Peter asked him, “Lord, how many times will I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?

Now, Peter was being generous here.

In Jewish religious circles it was taught that you only had to forgive someone 3 times. After 3 spins all bets were off… and you could shut a guy up.

But that is not how Jesus saw it. Jesus told Peter:

“I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:22

After the fifteenth time or so, I’d start to lose count…and of course, that’s the point.

In essence, Jesus was saying that his followers had to get used to handing out ‘free recharges’& #8230; just like God does.

If you want, we are subsidiaries and branches of God.

We represent him in this world.

And since we serve a God who forgives us, we need to be like Him in this world. We need to model his kind of forgiveness to a world that doesn’t deserve it. Because He forgave us when we didn’t deserve it.

So Jesus corrects Peter’s thinking with a short statement, then illustrates his point with a parable. He says:

“…the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants, when the settlement began, a man who owed him ten thousand talents (several million dollars) was brought to him. As he could not pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.

“The servant fell to his knees before him. & # 8216; Bear with me, ‘he begged her, ‘and I will pay you all.’

The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.”

Well that was good.

Wasn’t it good for that king to forgive such a large debt?

Of course.

But then Jesus completed the parable:

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii (a few thousand dollars). She grabbed him and started to strangle him. ‘Pay what you owe me!’ he demanded it.

“His fellow servant knelt down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went and had the man imprisoned until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were very distressed and went and told their lord everything that had happened.

Here this man had been forgiven an astronomical debt but he couldn’t forgive the debt of someone who owed him much less? Well, that didn’t sit too well with the King.

“Then the master called the servant. ‘Evil servant,’ he said: ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant as I had on you?’

His master, angry, handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he paid everything he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35

That’s pretty tough.

But you can understand how God can be angry with us if we don’t forgive.


He forgave us all our sins.

In fact, every time we ask for forgiveness, even if it’s 7 times 70 a day, we STILL have that promise.

But then you notice that some of the very people you have forgiven harbor bitterness and anger inside because someone sinned against them.

No matter what someone else has done to you or me, their sins against us pale in comparison to our sins against God.

Yes, I can understand why God would be upset.

Toby Mac once said:

“Don’t let what has been done FOR you be greater than what HE DID for you.”

(repeat that phrase)

So first I need to forgive others…because God forgave ME.

I cannot allow what they have done to me to be greater than what He did for me.

2ndly – ​​I need to forgive others…because if I don’t it annoys me.

Did you notice the words that Jesus said in his parable about the unforgiving servant?

In anger his master handed him over to TORTURE the jailers, until he paid all he owed.”


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