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Hebrews 12:17. He found no chance to repent, even though he sought the blessing with tears.
“I’m sorry.” For the first thirty years of my life, more often than not, this meant I regretted the personal consequences of what I had done, not necessarily the act or damage. During the last twenty years, I’ve come to see being sorry as distinctly different from regretting.
Most of us have said we’re sorry more times than we could hope to remember, but we are still able to recall events that we truly regret. Chances are that regret brings about change at a higher ratio than does being sorry—a change to ensure the behavior doesn’t happen again.
One of the illustrations that helped me came from an old farmer who used to volunteer at a prison where I was serving time. The discussion was about things done wrong and, with language more colorful than I can use here, he tipped his old dust-and-sweat-streaked cap back on his head and said, “Boys, you can’t put manure back in a horse.”
That was almost twenty years ago, and I wonder if that old man ever realized how much he helped me to begin to learn to live with some things.