Job 19:25 — “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the Earth.
How often have we found ourselves apologizing for wrongs we have done either by omission or commission? If we are wise, we will quickly and sincerely share three important words that will hopefully rescue the relationship, ourselves and the situation at hand. Those three words are I am sorry.
As simple as those three words are, they carry with them extremely high expectations. We are hopeful that the recipient of those words would be both gracious and benevolent. We want them to be gracious enough to receive our heartfelt apology and benevolent in continuing to extend the same level of kindness and care that was customary before the infraction.
In other words, we are hopeful and in some circumstances misguidedly expectant of a “do over.” In golf it is called a mulligan (you are allowed to replay the stroke without a penalty, even though it is against the formal rules).
When seeking forgiveness, we are quick to want to apply the view of Christ as illustrated in Matthew 18:22. Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to 7 times, but up to 70 times 7.” However, we are not so agreeable to this application when we are being asked to forgive.
I recently had a conversation with someone who stated that there was no way that he could forgive his wife if she had an affair. I asked him if he would expect her to forgive him if the roles were reversed. His reply was that he would hope for and expect her forgiveness. When confronted with his hypocrisy, his reply was that men and women are “wired” differently. I could only point out to him how that contradicted the word of God.
For those of you who are struggling with forgiveness, even of yourself, I encourage you to cling to the Word of God. You have been redeemed, bought with a price. We are encouraged in 1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God is a God of second chances. I was talking with the owner of the barbershop where my son gets his hair cut and I shared with him how I admired his hustle, his business acumen. He informed me of how even as a child, he would be creative in finding odd jobs in the neighborhood in an effort to make money.
He shared that as he grew older, the lure of money caused him to use those skills illegally and he ended up in federal prison. Upon his release from prison he stated that he committed his life to Christ. He said that God has truly blessed him and that even though he lost some things because of the choices he made, he has gained so much more because of the “do over” he received from the Lord.
If you are reading this article, there is an opportunity for you to get it right. Take advantage of this moment that you have been blessed with and share those words with a contrite heart, I am sorry.
James W. Goolsby Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org