David’s actions during conflict reveals that he believes “I’m sorry” is merely something you say to make things better with someone who doesn’t like what you’re doing. It’s clear he really doesn’t understand what being sorry or repentant is all about.
I do make a distinction between saying I’m sorry (for unintentional/ accidental hurts) and Will you forgive me? (for intentional or sinful behavior). Yesterday I asked him to ask his sister’s forgiveness, and he said instead I’m sorry. I told him he needed to say Will you forgive me for sinning against you? He begged not to have to say that. I wanted him to say those particular words because I don’t think he really understands that being unkind is serious (he knows it doesn’t please or glorify God). It was an interesting response. Perhaps it indicates that he knows what true repentance is all about after all.
In any case, I’d like to do some brainstorming how I can teach him about repentance. I’m going to see if I can think about some Bible stories that might illustrate the concept. Then I might look up repentance in a concordance or topical Bible. And I’d like to think of a succinct way to explain it on his (and Bethel’s) level. This might take awhile.