I’m Sorry. Oh, Wait! I Take it Back

The infamous Kathy Griffin has done an about face. You may remember her from her decapitated president stunt. Following that fiasco, she apologized profusely. Now she wants to take the apology back. I suppose that’s somewhat akin to a golfer taking a mulligan.

She has begun to make the rounds on her new Taking It Back Tour. She says she is “no longer sorry” and has accused the president of committing atrocities. She has added that her previous faux pas was totally “blown out of proportion.” On top of that, she is now complaining that she lost friends over the incident.

“It’s never easy.”

I’m guessing most of you have had to tell someone you’re sorry. It’s never easy. Sometimes it can be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do (at least it can feel that way). And sometimes, you can’t avoid losing friendships. It’s part of the price we occasionally pay for screwing up in the first place.

Griffin, however, has taken things a step further. She is now shifting the blame to… Well, I’m not sure who’s she’s blaming. The media, I guess. The media has blown it all out of proportion. Of course with today’s social media, that pretty much includes all of us. We’re to blame. Sorry Kathy. We didn’t mean to ruin your life.

Her turnabout has caused me to wonder. Is this, now, a new strategy we can use? Apologize one day, set the record straight, then take it back after the dust has settled. I don’t think I’ve ever tried that one. Actually, I’m not sure I’d want to do so. Still, it should be interesting to see how it works out for her. I assume there will be plenty of folks who will sidle up to her and tell her she’s right.

From personal experience in these matters, it would seem to me that she was never really sorry in the first place. I certainly can’t read her mind, but I don’t ever remember feeling remorseful over my sins then feeling all that good about myself later. That’s just me, I suppose.

Doing a 180

There’s an important Biblical concept we find throughout Scripture. The word for it is “repentance.” It means to turn 180 degrees or to change one’s mind. Ms. Griffin did her one-eighty a while back. Now she seems to be repenting of her repentance. I’m not sure you can actually do that.

I can’t imagine looking to the Lord, asking for forgiveness, saying I’m sorry, then later saying I’m not really sorry at all—I take it back. The big problem with that, of course, is God would know I didn’t mean it from the beginning. The Lord would know I was merely attempting to cover my tracks.

Kathy Griffin lays no claim to being a Christian—quite the opposite, in fact. So her reversal is quite understandable. Those of us who do claim to follow Jesus need to heed her example and do the opposite. You just can’t take back genuine repentance.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

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