“Sorry” is something of a stagnant word... It makes a statement & nothing more. There is no movement, no true redemption in it. It offers merely the acknowledgment of wrongdoing, but doesn’t have the ability to access forgiveness. A wrong is made right not only in word, but in deed.
Repentance naturally seems to evoke thoughts of movement, immediately distinguishing it as something altogether different. The prefix itself (“re”) denotes action... to re-trace, re-wind, re-cover... to do over again. True repentance moves us back toward God’s mercy. It positions us to access His forgiveness. But often we seem to forget that repentance is an act of submission & it must bear fruit in our lives. If there's no change in our behaviour, can we say we've truly repented?
I thought for years I had been praying prayers of genuine repentance... but if I had been honest with myself, I would’ve had to acknowledge that I wasn’t really interested in submitting to God. I’ve often caught myself “repenting” quickly b/c I thought I wanted peace with Him... But it wasn’t peace with God I was seeking... I liken it to skipping the daily shower & throwing on fresh clothes despite... I can use deodorant or perfume or lotions to try & cover my uncleanliness, but the truth presents itself as the day wears on. Even if its not evident on the outside, I begin to feel it on the inside... And I carry my “secret” until I’ve had enough... I repent -genuinely- only when I become unbearable to myself. I entertain change only when absolutely necessary. I’m embarrassed to say this was something of a revelation to me; an illustration of my own selfishness & lackadaisical spirit...
I’ve thus far made it a point to stop short of actually saying “I repent” if I know I don’t mean to actively submit to God, to change my behavior... Repentance is more than just a quick fix for my guilt... more than a one time affair. Its something I must pursue daily. I'm responsible to let it change me, move me... If I fail to pursue repentance, I fail to pursue God. So I acknowledge my guilt & pray for the ability to keep in step... to bear fruit, in keeping with repentance.