Just about every commentator in the country will be talking about that word uttered by PM Kevin Rudd in parliament this morning, but equally the phrase "leaves the door open for compensation".
I find it intriguing that an apology should make people instantly shoot their hand out for some extra coin. Almost instantly, we have people scheming schemes to work out how to profit from words of contrition. It's almost like saying Sorry Isn't Good Enough.
To say, "I am sorry" can be very sincere and, depending on how it is said, communicate a depth of meaning. However, it is a phrase which, by such common usage, has lost some of its meaning for a serious occasion. It can be used several times a day. As you brush up against somebody in a crowd, it is customary to say, "I'm sorry." But it has been my observation that frequently when people say, "I am sorry," they really mean, "I am sorry I got caught."
Therein lies a problem. Being sorry only expresses a state or a position. Being sorry of itself does nothing to restore that which has been damaged. Being sorry if anything affixes the blame to the person feeling sorry and doesn't shift, diffuse or get rid of it. Further proof of this was something else I'd heard on the radio, and equally as worrying considering that it came from someone standing as head of an Aboriginal group. "We must remember what has happened in the past, but we must also never forgive it."
Never forgive? Does being sorry actually work at all with a forgiveness accompanying it?
Many people seem to think that it is a sign of weakness to ask for forgiveness. On the contrary, it is a sign of strength. It is so helpful in relationships, particularly when there is no shared responsibility or blame. All of us have done harmful and even reprehensible things to others for which there was no justification. Frequently, these are the occasions when it is hardest to summon up one's courage to ask for forgiveness. The most difficult seven words to say can be, "I was wrong. Will you forgive me?"
There's an exercise for the day. Have a scan of the newspapers, your office or even within your own family and have a look for the amount of forgiveness going on. I imagine that it's very low indeed.
Sorry isn't good enough and forgiveness isn't forthcoming.
One Word Weather With Nelson Mandela
I think that's a fair assessment Mr Mandela.