"I'm only sorry if they are." No.
"I'll just say 'I'm sorry' and then she'll have to let me..." Stop.
"When he's really sorry, then he will..." Don't.
On some level, we know how much goes into those two little words. "I'm sorry." There's a real cost in those two little words. Just saying them costs me my pride. They cost me the argument. They cost so much that we'd rather not throw them around. Those two little words are precious. We better not waste them. We better make sure we can get something out of them when we have to use them. I'm only going to put something in if you match it. I don't want you to have the upper hand here. It's about leverage. I'm only sorry if you are.
If I'm going to use such costly words, I better make sure I can get something out of it. I'll just say "I'm sorry" and then she'll have to let me...
When you're going to give me an "I'm sorry", I'm going to buy something with it. If he's really sorry, then he will...
We treat "I'm sorry" like it's currency. We buy and sell with these words, and when we do, we ignore the fact that we were already bought with a price. Christ has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.
“I’m sorry” only comes up when someone sins. That’s why it costs so much. When we say I’m sorry, we own up to whatever damage we did. We take on whatever debt is owed. That’s why it’s so hard to say. That’s why it’s so magnificent to hear your enemy say it.
The problem is, When we treat "I'm sorry" like currency, we sidestep Christ and His cross. We forget that while we owe a great debt because of our sins, Christ has already paid it. He suffered and bled for every “I’m sorry”. He died for you and for all the world.
“I’m sorry” isn’t currency because there’s nothing left to pay with those words. It is finished. You’ve already been bought. I'm sorry costs me nothing because it already cost Christ everything. I don't need to trade on apologies. I already have their worth.
That changes everything. “I’m sorry” ceases to be about what I owe and becomes a participation in Christ’s gift. Apologies stop being about debt and start looking like freedom. Confession becomes about Absolution, the forgiveness of sins.
Christ didn’t wait for you to say I’m sorry before He died on the cross. He knew the guilt and shame that would lock your jaw to those words, and so He paid the price for your sins long before you could ever even murmur those two little words. Before you ever could say “I’m sorry”, Christ loved you. Christ died for you. It is finished.
“I'm sorry” is not rooted in what I can earn from it, but in the cross. It is nothing less than a participation in Christ’s blood bought gift of redemption, and so it is not a chore but a gift. We can stand as equals, forgiven and holy, washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. We can see our greatest enemy as someone Jesus died for.
It’s not "I'm only sorry if they are." I don’t need to make myself equal to you. Christ has made us each forgiven sinners, perfected in His cross. That’s equality. I’m sorry because I sinned, but that has already been paid for.
“I’m sorry" isn’t about how we can cash in. It’s not currency. It’s Identity. I’m a baptized child of God. I’m repentant. I rejoice in the forgiveness of Christ.