In working with children over the years, I have been a frequent observer of "apologies". Usually it happens like this:
Do you think that Child A is "repentant" meaning truly sorry for what they did, or is Child A simply sorry they got caught in the act of sin?
I fear that far too often when we come before God, we may have a guilty conscience but we do not have a repentant heart.
In the 7th chapter of Second Corinthians, Paul refers to an earlier letter he wrote, chastising the Corinthian Church. They were doing things which were wrong and they needed to stop doing them. Paul loved them too much to pat them on the head and ignore them. He loved them too much to simply tell them it was okay. They could just ask for God's repentance later on down the road. He would know they didn't really mean to sin and so it was fine.
Instead, he told it to them like it was. They needed to repent! Repentance, however, is far more than simply saying, "I'm sorry". It means you are grieved to the heart over what you have done. It means you desire to make your wrong, right. It means you desire to never engage in that sort of behavior again. It means you want to do an about face in regards to your behavior, you want to get off the path you are traveling on and get back on God's road... and you will do whatever you need to do to get back on track. That is what repentance means.
I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while.
Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way.
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (NLT)
When the Holy Spirit brings conviction upon us, are we repentant or are we simply sorry we got caught? There is a big difference, you know.
Sometimes it takes pain to bring about repentance and sometimes we feign repentance to avoid pain. The problem with the second, is that it does not and will not bring about repentance if allowed to be repeated over and over again.
I take it child A and B have been real characters in a real classroom