Why Say Sorry?
I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. (Psalm 38:18, KJV)
When our children were young, one thing we worked hard on was getting them to say "sorry." Such a small word, yet one that it could be so difficult to extract at times! Of course, adults are no different; it’s just that we are far more subtle in how we avoid saying it. But knowing how to say "sorry" is one of the most important things in life.
First, saying "sorry" reminds us Who God is: that He is holy and cannot bear the sight of sin. This is hard for us to grasp, for we have all learned to live too easily with sin. But just as we instinctively feel repulsed when seeing scenes of slaughter on the TV news, so that is how God feels when He sees sin. He feels revolted and sickened by it - even by what we might see as "trivial" sin – for it offends His holiness, His love of what is good and right. Acknowledging His holiness and our sinfulness, therefore, is the first step to receiving forgiveness.
Second, saying "sorry" reminds us who we are. We can so easily lose a proper perspective of ourselves and become convinced of how important and indispensable we are. How fortunate our employers are to have us working for them! How blessed the church is to have us as a member. But owning up to our sin has a way of healthily putting things back into perspective again.
Third, saying "sorry" reminds us who others are. Sometimes, we hurt others. Careless words, thoughtless actions, ungrateful attitudes, can all cut deep into the hearts of family, friends and colleagues. When we recognize that’s what we’ve done, we need to say "sorry" quickly (both to God and to them), for this reminds us that we are no different from them and that they too are made in the image of God and are to be treated as such.
Saying "sorry" isn’t always easy; but when we do, it is the most liberating thing on earth! Is there someone you need to say "sorry" to today?
"So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, 'I’ll tell the LORD each one of my sins.' Then you forgave me and took away my guilt (Psalm 32:5, CEV).
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont