Sunday, August 04, 2013

Sorry isn't always an apology

This controversy should never have been, and comes about because of the English language, once again, trips us up with its confusing, idiomatic word meanings. At the heart of the online furore is a truncated video of the pastor, apparently claiming to have received an apology from God for his suffering.

"For the first time in eight months, God, I heard Him cry. And he said 'My son, Kong, thank you...I am so sorry, but you need to go through this by yourself..." (transcript from "'Sorry' video")

Many, it seems, are indignant that a man would presume to be worthy of this word from God, but don't we all know that the phrase "I'm sorry" could mean two things?

1. To express contrition i.e. an apology
2. To express sorrow at another's state, i.e. condolences

Isn't this why, when we hear bad news of others, we sometimes say, "I am so sorry to hear that." In the same way, the person receiving this will not answer, "It isn't your fault".

This court case has certainly been the focus of much media attention and public interest, but this is no reason to find ways to condemn a man. Just let justice take its natural, rightful course, and in the meanwhile, don't be the first one to cast a stone.

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