This morning our toddler was crying and saying, “Sorry, Daddy” because he was spanked for being disobedient. I explained to him that being sorry is not enough. To show that we are sorry we must stop doing the things that we are told not to do. We have to change the behavior that will get us into trouble. As I said this I thought of God.
When we are truly sorry we stop sinning. Every time the Israelites were disobedient, God punished them. They were sorry and He forgave them but soon they were disobedient again.
Zacchaeus was sorry for all the things he had done and the people he had cheated and vowed that he would change and make it up to them. And he did. Saying that he was sorry was not enough for Zacchaeus. He went further. He changed his life and ways.
This is the kind of kind of sorry Jesus meant when He told the adulteress to stop sinning and the cripple at the pool of Bethesda. This is the kind of sorry Jesus preached about when He began His ministry (Matthew 4:17). When we repent we change our old behavior and adopt a new good behavior that is pleasing to God.
Don’t just say that you are sorry. Show it!