When I was a kid I was a dreamer and a liar. I would get carried away in my own imagination. I would imagine scenarios and stories. Play out conversations in my head. (Many involved the president and Oprah, not joking.) When I was in trouble, there was always a period of time that I would have to "sit and think about what I'd done." I didn't usually think about what I'd done though, usually, I'd think about how I could get out of it. I'd craft arguments and positions in my mind, colorful explanations for what I did and why. Though I would dream up wonderful, matlock-esq explanations, I never really lied outside of my own thoughts. Not until I was in High School anyway. Usually, I would come up with all my stories and by the time my parents came in, what came out of me was, "I'm sorry."
To be honest I'm not sure how sorry I was. I bet sometimes I was sorry. Like if I'd made my sister cry or something, but usually I think I knew "I'm sorry" was the way for me to make things right with my family. It would end the separation I experienced when I had violated the terms of our arrangement. I had disobeyed my parents and I knew "I'm sorry" was my ticket back in.
I still say I'm sorry a lot. Sometimes at inappropriate times in conversation. I think when I say it, what I'm trying to say is, I don't want things to be uncomfortable between us anymore or I want things to be right with us or Are we ok? But instead what comes out is I'm sorry.
I've noticed the same pattern with me and God. Often I'll quickly run through my list of confession to Him. I'll breeze over the list of my sins and quickly get to something more tolerable. It's made me begin to question, How grieved over my sin am I? I know I want to be right with God. I know I don't want things to be uncomfortable or weird between us. I don't want to feel like He's far from me. I wonder, am I actually repentant or am I just trying to appease God by apologizing for my sin.
I think the motive of getting out of the dog house isn't completely bad, but it's not complete. God wants me not only to apologize, he wants me to grieve my sin, to hurt a little. To long to be right with him again. Not so I sit in self pity, but so I don't want to do it again. So I can identify with the pain Christ felt on the cross and so I can appreciate how great a sacrifice He made.
Even though it's awkward, it's good for me to think about what I've done. If I don't think about it how will I be motivated to change it and if I don't work towards changing it, am I really sorry at all? I know I'll never be perfect, I recognize that full well, but I can't grow weary of trying to change. I can't get cold to the gravity of sin or else I'll demean the gravity of the sacrifice of Christ for me.
Now once I do grieve, once I do confess, I can't dwell. I've got to let it go. I've got to let God do what He does and restore us and not hold on to it. I've still got accept what He's done for me, but I can only accept it fully if I experience the pain fully. I do it a disservice if I numb myself to it or hold on to it.
There are a lot of things I'm not sure of, but I have a feeling God wants a little more than an insincere "I'm sorry" from me.