Have you ever watched a child take a toy away from another? They then get caught by a parent or teacher and are told to say sorry. The little child reluctantly gives back the toy, clenches his fist, scrunches his little face and forces out a quick, "sorry!" The child then runs away to go off and forget what he's done, and grabs the next thing from another child. The parent knows that their child wasn't truly sorry and wasn't giving back the toy willingly; he was merely following the instructions laid out by his parent, and there was nothing heartfelt about that apology.
As Christians we are taught from a young age that God forgives. Those who walk in the door of a church for the first time are also immediately taught that God can forgive anything from their past. John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." To many that sounds easy! All we do is sin all week, and run to church on Sunday and confess it all like a grocery list. After the service is over, they feel so much better and run off knowingly committing the same sins and thinking that next Sunday they can just come and do it all over again. Some people pray before they do it! "Oh, Lord, "I know you say not to do this, but I have to, so I ask that you forgive me for what I'm about to do!" If God's word says don't do it, then don't do it. Yes, God truly "forgives" when we are "truly" sorry! In the dictionary, the term "sorry" means, "feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence". In the modern "Urban Dictionary", the first definition talks about using it to make a person shut up! Oh, how times have changed. We don't say sorry because we mean it, we say it to just quick get people to stop bothering us about our sins and to just quickly move on, not truly caring about what we have just done. In the Bible it talks about people sinning and in Acts 3:19 it says, "Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away." The word "repent" means, "to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to 'CHANGE' one's life for the better; be penitent." In this verse you are truly saying you are sorry for your sins and you are turning away from them and turning yourself to God. You leave those sins and do your best not to repeat them. In John 8, it talks about a woman who committed adultery. People were trying to condemn her and Jesus said, "“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” People use this verse often to get out of what they did wrong, but aren't truly sorry about what they have done. They might feel a tad "guilty", but they are quick to say, "well, she did the same thing, so it's no big deal, we all sin." The part that everyone seems to leave out in this important chapter, is in verse 11 when Jesus says, "...Go and sin no more." He is telling her that if she is truly sorry then He has forgiven her, but she must not go back to the sin that he has just forgiven her from.
The point is we are all imperfect sinners, and yes we will do things against God and His word at times. We as Christians though, should be reading God's word and learning what we should and should not be doing. When these sins occur and we have realized what we have done, we need to come with a truly sorrowful heart, truly knowing and feeling sorry for what we have done. Knowing that we have offended God, our sorrow should be so great that we want to turn from the sin that was committed and "Go and sin no more." That is when we are honestly sorry, and then God sees and knows our hearts and grants that amazing forgiveness that is talked about in His word.