Monday, November 15, 2010

The Value of "I'm Sorry"

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Our younger daughter was playing. She happily settled at the couch where our cockapoo puppy was blissfully sleeping. Without much warning, in a sweep of her little hand, our daughter shocked the puppy as she pushed her from the couch to make more room. My husband and I looked on in disbelief. Just as grown ups are sinners, desperately in need of the mercy of a loving and forgiving father, so now was our daughter in need of forgiveness from her Heavenly Father, her parents and from her trusted pet, who looked up at her quite surprised by her actions.

A quote from a famous movie says, "Love means never having to say you are sorry." WRONG! Quite the contrary, love means accepting accountability and also offering to one we have offended a verbal demonstration of a heavy heart, burdened by our sin. My husband and I showed our disapproval for our daughter's actions and she was none too happy about it either! And then we required she apologize. We also prayed with her to teach her the value of taking the burdens of our sin to our Father. Her feeling bad was part of the process and I am most thankful she felt remorse and sadness. However, as she executed her request for thanksgiving, it was obvious her whole heart was not in it. Looking for our affirmation that she was done her penitence, we shook our heads and advised, "You have to mean it!" At four, I am not surprised by her reluctance, but it speaks to our own childlike behavior in our own reluctance to bear our sin nature to the people we love. There have probably been a time or two when we missed the opportunity to humbly offer regret for our words or actions.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

When we confess, it is not for God's sake. It is for our hearts. God knows already the depths and breadth of our hearts. Moreover, He has paid dearly for our sins. He knows when our hearts are not in it. Fortunately, like my husband and I in that moment, God offers grace and mercy for our repentant hearts. Hopefully, when we approach loved ones with genuine repentance, they too will want to forgive quickly and in love. Our responsibility as Christians in repentance is to take our transgressions to the feet of our forgiver and also to offer our sincere apologies to friends or loved ones. "I'm sorry" is a powerful phrase, that heals many wounds. The goal of any act of repentance is true change or "turning away" from that which seperates us from God.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." James 5:16

Perhaps God is calling you to utter an "I'm sorry." to someone. Perhaps the four year old in all of us wants to run from the necessity of humbling ourselves before Him and others. But it is as it was designed...heed His truth and allow Him to help you profess your sins, to God and to others.

Be blessed,



Great post, Heather. Saying "I'm sorry" in any situation is where humility comes in. When we are unwilling to say it - we are unwilling to humble ourselves.

God has commanded that we humble ourselves [as Jesus did] and that we forgive as well as ask forgiveness. Saying "I'm sorry" is always the first step.


Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Heather - this is just so good! So many times we don't realize the power of 'i'm sorry' in our own lives. It always feels good to obey God's Word. I am thankful for parents like you and your husband teaching your littles ones now to confess and ask for forgiveness when they have hurt somebody. Even a puppy..