When someone looks at me with a gruff sadness and says, I’m sorry, my first reaction is not forgiveness but rejection. I do not believe they are sorry; I am more inclined to think their being jangles with the burden of guilt and they want to soothe their own nerves.
I ask them, Please don’t apologize any more, but still, often, they assume that same demeanor and murmur, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. And at times, I find myself taking this stance with another person — someone who has reacted to my words or conduct with hurt and humiliation.
As I go about my day today, I’m thinking about that Egyptian hijacking, and the hijacker who took an entire plane to Cyprus ostensibly to dialogue with his former spouse. I wonder what he would have said to her. Did he act from his own pain, or out of empathy with hers? We might never know, but here in Kansas City, I feel at one with his grief.
To hear one German citizen’s perspective on forgiveness and guilt, click THIS LINK.