Bob Tamasy: Three R’s For Wrongdoing

Monday, May 1, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Back in 1960, pint-sized songstress Brenda Lee had a hit tune called, “I’m Sorry.” In the lyrics, she was “so sorry,” and asked whoever she was singing to, “please accept my apology.” I’m not sure about Ms. Lee, but experience has taught me that when people say they’re sorry, they don’t always mean what we think they mean. There are, we might say, “three R’s for wrongdoing.”

The first R is regret. Confronted with their wrongs, without a defense for their actions, some people react with regret. This is like the child that stares at the floor and mutters, “Sorry.” Lack of sincerity is pretty obvious. The same goes for adults. They may utilize better body language, but in essence they’re saying, “Sorry I got caught.
I should have done a better job of covering my tracks.” Not a lot of genuine sorrow in this “sorry” response.

Cain, Adam and Eve’s first son, took this approach after killing his brother, Abel, in a fit of sibling jealousy. God asked, “Where is your brother, Abel?” Cain shrugged his shoulders and replied, ”I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:1-9). Young people today would put it this way: “Oh, man! Busted!” Cain might have been thinking, “You can’t get away with anything around here!”

The second R is remorse. Not necessarily regretting the actions, but hating the consequences. Still not inclined to admit the seriousness of our wrongdoing, we can feel remorse because we know we’re going to the penalty box. Cain used this kind of response, too. Cursed by God to become a lifelong fugitive and unable to see fruitful results from his labors, the first homicide perpetrator groaned, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today (God) you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth…” (Genesis 4:13-14).

Nowhere in this account do we see Cain acknowledging the gravity of his crime, or feeling the least bit mournful about taking the life of his sibling. Cain’s only concern was the severe punishment he would have to endure.

Maybe the best biblical example of remorse was Judas, who betrayed Jesus. Matters had escalated beyond what he’d anticipated. The Scriptures tell us, “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood’” (Matthew 27:3-4). 

Even then, however, Judas’ “I’m sorry” was self-centered. Realizing returning the money wouldn’t stop the chain of events, the next verses states, he “threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” Overcome with remorse and unable to cope with the guilt, Judas took his own life to stop the pain.

The final R is repentance. Not only recognizing a wrong that’s been committed, but also being genuinely sorrowful for it. The root of the word, “repent,” means, as one dictionary defines it, “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life.” 

Repentance is the “I’m sorry” God accepts. The apostle Paul expressed it this way: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done” (2 Corinthians 7:10-11).

This form of “I’m sorry” doesn’t apply just to those who have been living apart from the Lord and need to establish a new relationship with Him – although it’s a necessary first step. Repentance applies to all of us who profess to be Christ followers, regardless of how long that has been.

The apostle John, in recording visions he had received from God, addressed this point with the church at Ephesus. Affirming the believers there, he observed, “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance….. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” However, this was classic “good news, bad news.” Because then John wrote, “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:1-5).

The Ephesians had been doing good, working hard, and persevering in faith. Then came the big “BUT.” They had “lost their first love,” as another translation puts it. Their zeal and dedication had wavered, and they had apparently fallen into spiritual compromise. 

We’d be wise to consider this admonition ourselves, because walking consistently and faithfully with the Lord isn’t easy. Even if we did well yesterday, that doesn’t mean we’ll do well today – or tomorrow. As we’re warned in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

Maybe if we endeavor never to lose our first love, the brokenness of repentance might not be needed nearly as often.


Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog,, or his website (now being completed), He can be emailed at

Keith Baptist Church Hosts Fall Revival Nov. 14-18

"Ramp It Up" Is Sermon Topic At Metro Tab Church On Sunday

Steve Ellison: What Will We Eat?

Keith Baptist Church will have its Fall Revival services Nov. 15-18. Jimmy McClure, pastor of North Georgia Baptist Church, will be preaching and Sacrifice will be singing during the services. ... (click for more)

Dr. Steve Ball, senior pastor, will discuss the topic "Ramp It Up" at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Music Ministry is led by Rob Alley and Metro Praise. The Children's ... (click for more)

In Leviticus 25, God is in the middle of giving a code of various and sundry laws for His chosen people to live by. He tells them to let the land lay fallow every seventh year. In addition, they ... (click for more)


Keith Baptist Church Hosts Fall Revival Nov. 14-18

Keith Baptist Church will have its Fall Revival services Nov. 15-18. Jimmy McClure, pastor of North Georgia Baptist Church, will be preaching and Sacrifice will be singing during the services. The revival begins Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. and ends with the 11 a.m. service on Nov. 18. The church is at 1573 Keith Road in Ringgold/Tunnel Hill. For more information, call 706 450-0963 ... (click for more)

"Ramp It Up" Is Sermon Topic At Metro Tab Church On Sunday

Dr. Steve Ball, senior pastor, will discuss the topic "Ramp It Up" at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Music Ministry is led by Rob Alley and Metro Praise. The Children's Pastor Olivia Aziz and staff will host kids in the Metro Kidz Church. The church is at 2101 West Shepherd Road. You can also view live on Facebook or at . (click for more)

Breaking News

WWTA Releases Timetable That Would Have Ooltewah Sewage Treatment Plant In Operation By 2025; Public Meetings Set At Central High

The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority has released a timetable that would have a new sewage treatment plant in Ooltewah in operation by 2025. A request for a site at Mahan Gap Road goes before the Planning Commission at Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. It goes to the County Commission Zoning Committee on Dec. 12 and the full commission on Dec. 19. The WWTA also ... (click for more)

Downtown Post Office Finally Getting Handicap Ramp

Chattanooga's Downtown Post Office, after some lawsuits and numerous complaints over the years, is finally getting a handicap ramp. Federal Judge Sandy Mattice said the complaints had increased in recent months and the General Services Administration agreed to fund the project at the historic building on Georgia Avenue. The judge said, "It's a beautiful building, but it's ... (click for more)


Too Many Questions

First it was about 2,000, then we were told it’s up to 4,000. We have no way of knowing who’s coming or what their purpose is. NBC and CNN assure us they are seeking sanctuary but how can we know? Neither Honduras or our subjective media in America have been honest with us in the past. So, how do we know why that many people are marching across Central America? Then this morning ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Answer For Amy

Amy Schumer, whose cousin is Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, is said to be a very successful comedian and an activist of note. You may remember her most recent appearance was when she was arrested at the U.S. Capitol three weeks ago. She was part of a disgraceful mob who unlawfully protested the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the hunch is Amy wanted to get arrested so she ... (click for more)