WORDS THAT GOD MOST WANTS TO HEAR
THANKSGIVING AND EVERY OTHER DAY
The Bible tells us that there are two commandments, that if we fulfill them, we will also fulfill all the law.
Luke 10:25-28 (KJV)
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Loving God, being in proper relationship with Him, involves first this immense love. We enter into it with repentance. And, yet, there is another result of this new relationship, and it is a love of others as we love ourselves. If we break that law, we are again guilty before God. Therefore, when we have done wrong to others, there is a restoration process of maintaining our relationship with God by cleansing ourselves from guilt by apologizing, repenting, admitting our faults to those we have wronged.
APOLOGIES, REPENTANCE to others is vital in our maintenance of relationship to God. As wonderful as is our gift of being able to speak, we have failed utterly to use it wisely, to use it as intended by God. We seldom hear certain words. We can go to the store, and in short order can hear cursing, arguing, lying, etc. Yet, there are some words that are seldom heard.
“I am sorry” is seldom heard, especially in a sincere manner. We can hear words like ‘I’m sorry you think I did wrong’ which is not a sincere apology, they are not sorry they did wrong, they are not admitting wrong, they are just sorry you have that misconception (they claim) that anything they did is wrong at all. That is a bogus apology. An apology is an admission of doing something, saying something, feeling something should not have been done, said, nor felt. Some apologize without feeling true remorse, and that lack of Godly sorrow indicates it is a bogus apology. Some politicians apologize for anything that made them less likely to be voted for. Those are not true remorse, but are attempts to gain acceptance and attempts to cover their true feelings. If someone apologizes without true godly sorrow, that apology is a lie. If they do not truly regret their actions, words, or thoughts that offended, they lack godly sorrow, so to pretend it is sincerely an apology is deceptive, and a falsehood.
Those bogus apologies are worded carefully and deceitfully. The ‘I’m sorry you think...’ or the ‘I’m sorry you’re upset at...’, or I’m sorry you got mad...’ does not indicate personal sorrow, does not indicate a change of mind from the one had at the time of the wrong.
Paul spoke of apologies:
2 Corinthians 7:9-12 (KJV)
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.
Even Christians try to erase ‘sorrow’. No one enjoys having hurt someone, and then having to apologize. We are forgiven for our sin when we repent to God, we are justified and righteous in God’s eyes, unless we refuse to apologize to the one wronged. In fact, we are commanded to not come to God without first trying to go to the one wronged.
Matthew 5:23-24 (KJV)
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
We are to have ‘godly sorrow’. The word for ‘sorrow’ is the Greek word, loo-pay, meaning grief, heaviness, sorrow. The ‘I’m sorry’ is to be instigated by that Godly sorrow.
We are told it is ‘not to be repented of’. The word ‘repented’ here is the Greek word ametameletos, and is a negative of its root word. What is is declaring is that we are not to cease to regret, not to cease to be sorry for the wrongs we did to God, to mankind, and to ourselves. The need to say ‘I am sorry’ does not cease with becoming a Christian, rather it increases. Our sins, our wrongs toward others, need repented.
I have hear sermons of some who brag on their past sins, as though the multitude of having many horrible sins, makes them now superior Christians. They should still be ‘sorry’ for what they did to others, and to God. One current evangelist claims that his divorce and unfaithfulness was not sinful, it was caused by a curse by other Christians on him. That is wrong, it was caused by sins he chose to sin, and he owes repentance to God, and needs to say ‘I’m sorry’ to his former wife. He wronged many of his congregation too, and instead of realizing his sins, he is blaming his sin on others. He will not even call his sins to be sins.
SAYING ‘I’M SORRY’ HAS GREAT BENEFITS. God designed our gift of speaking, so that we could use it to bless, and use it to redeem our errors through apology. Learning to apologize, learning to own up to failures, is a feature of the gift of speech that few ever learn.
II Corinthians 7:11
‘what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter’
To God, an apology is called ‘repentance’. It is the key to maintaining relationship with Him. Lack of repentance to God, results in more and more failures and sins. Repentance, and its humbling nature, brings a ‘carefulness’ that helps us mature and be less and less failing.
carefulness it wrought in you
First, to say ‘I’m sorry’ ‘wrought’ ‘carefulness’ in us. We regret the sins that hurt God, that hurt others, that hurt ourselves, so much that it makes us ‘careful’. To apologize to mankind, to repent to God will help us be more careful. We avoid putting ourselves into lasciviousness positions. We seek to avoid being tempted, so we can be stronger in the battle of the devil to get us to return to sin.
what clearing of yourselves
Secondly, to say ‘I’m sorry’ will clear ourselves of the guilt.
1 John 1:9 (KJV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That ‘confession’ of sins is not only to God, but often needs to be to the persons we wronged.
yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire
Thirdly, to have to say ‘I’m sorry’ will give us an indignant, fearful, vehement desire to hate sins. We will not want to ever be so embarrassed with that sin again. We will want to be more careful, we will hate the inner sin that caused us to fail. Fear sin! Hate sin! Hate the thought of being brought back down into the despair of being defeated by the devil.
The reverence and appreciation we have for the mercifulness of our loving God, and the appreciation that those people we wronged have forgiven us also, and we are now right with man and with God, should keep us in ‘fear’ of ever doing wrong to Him again, and give us a ‘vehement desire’ to serve Him without further failure. We will want to make right the wrongs of the past.
what zeal, yea, what revenge!
Fourthly, there comes with the words ‘I’m sorry’, a desire to avenge the wrongs, we will not only say ‘I’m sorry’, but we will be desirous to make right the damage we have done. None of us are perfect, except Jesus. We will all occasionally fail. Don't revert back to the old patterns when you fail. Don't give up. No! Revenge that failure. Admit your failure, apologize to the people offended or harmed by your sin, and then ask God for help and forgiveness. Court-martial, hold trial, sentence that failure to the sea of God's forgetfulness.
Romans 8:13 (KJV)
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
There is a time to grab yourself by the nap of the neck on your shirt, pull yourself over to a mirror and give yourself a good scolding. Then straighten yourself up. Go apologize to the people you have wronged. The words ‘I’m sorry’ may be rare, but God desires to hear us say them to those we have wronged. A truly repentant heart will drive us to speak those hard words, ‘I’m sorry.’
In seeking God, there is a barrier if we do not repent, apologize to others, for wrongs we have done. This is a natural result of having made things right with God. We cannot just choose to do the first of repenting to God and then not do the second. These two will naturally go together. As we enter into relationship with God via repentance, it is natural to then love others, and not want to have wronged them. We want, if we are truly repentant to God, to then s speak words of apology to others we have wronged. Our vocabulary will more and more contain apology words to others.
Thanksgiving ‘thanks’ words to God will be heard and blessed if we precede them with ‘repentance words’.