Asking Forgiveness vs. Saying I’m Sorry

Author:  Tricia Hodges

Humpphh! {arms folded across the chest and frowning face} “I’m sorry.”

“Would you please forgive me?” {eye contact with another person or head bowed in prayer}

Which one sounds genuine to you? Both of the above imply an attitude. One is a statement. One is a question.

Will you please forgive me? It is a call to action. This question admits guilt even if the one asking is not guilty. Asking for forgiveness places others above self. Forgiveness is the Biblical model.

There is freedom in forgiveness. Simply saying you are sorry can just mean you are sorry for being caught.

A recent visual explains it well. We often use a resource entitled, 365 Days of Celebration and Praise. Each day shares something to celebrate, questions to discuss, a related activity, a verse to memorize and a prayer suggestion. This day was ‘ Eraser Day.’ We asked the questions: “What does it take to be forgiven of our sins? When you have wronged another person, what do you say to that person, and what do you say to God?”

The related activity was to draw a heart. We followed the instructions, writing in pencil some the events of the day – good and bad. We were to record sins and shortcomings as well. We saved the paper for prayer time that night. Then, later, we talked to God about each one. We asked God to erase our sins. Then we used an eraser to “take away” the sins on our paper. We thanked God for His forgiveness!

The heart activity was a wonderful picture of forgiveness. Forgiveness wipes it all away. Saying I’m sorry just isn’t enough. We as parents sometimes have to ask our children to forgive us and start over. We might even ask forgiveness for allowing a certain behavior or habit to continue in our homes. As parents, we have the chance to model and the privilege to teach this principle of salvation daily!

When we forgive others, this unlocks the power of God’s forgiveness.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25

Helpful resources:
Doorposts Brother Offended Checklist

Ever Feel Like a Referee?

365 Days of Celebration and Praise

How do you model forgiveness in your home?

Next Week’s Author:   Tyler Robbins

Tricia Hodges and her husband, Steve, are homeschooling parents to two boys and three girls. Tricia’s bachelor of arts in journalism wasn’t what prepared her for the biggest lesson she’s learned. She found out at the end of the day – when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and, folks, the time is short. Tricia writes about her daily dose of chaos at Hodgepodge.
Tricia Hodges
View all posts by Tricia Hodges
Tricia’s website


  1. Passionate Purposeful Parenting says:

    Love this! We, learned the difference several years ago and have applied forgiveness in our family! Love the additional insights/resources you shared. We also talk about the concept of repentance — tied to forgiveness. When you ask forgiveness, you mean what you say and with the Holy Spirit’s help you are going to try and not do it again! It’s all about reaching the heart too. Sometimes my kids have gone through the motions of asking forgiveness and not really meaning it. Recently we have been trying to be better about remembering to ask God forgiveness before we ask the other person’s forgiveness!

  2. Passionate Purposeful Parenting says:

    I just went back and saw that I wrote a post for PPP a couple of years ago called “I’m Sorry” and “Will You Forgive Me?” :)

  3. Tricia, I LOVE THIS! “Asking for forgiveness places others above self. Forgiveness is the Biblical model.
    There is freedom in forgiveness. ” YES YES YES!!! Freedom in forgiving and seeking forgiveness! Thank you!

  4. Well said. I agree. Submission of the heart is an essential ingredient for forgiveness. An “I’m sorry” is not a submissive stance. Asking, “Will you forgive me?” is a question that awaits an answer and puts us in a position of submission and expectation. Of course, we have to make sure that the recipient of that question understands the biblical principle of exponential forgiveness (70 times 7) :) Thank you!


  1. […] love for you to join me at Passionate Purposeful Parenting today. Hello there! If you are new here, please subscribe to the RSS feed for updates. Filed Under: […]