Some things in life take courage. Being a parent comes to mind, or moving to a new place, or maybe zip lining through the rainforest. Most of us learn about courage by having to face something that is difficult. It seems to me that one of the most difficult things for any of us is to say, “I’m sorry” and really mean it. In fact, we often will do anything we can think of to avoid those two big words. We’ll ignore the little nudge we feel that maybe we owe someone an apology. We’ll make the standard excuses about how we didn’t mean to offend anyone, or that the other person needs to apologize to us first. We’ll comfort ourselves that we didn’t do anything that was really that big a deal. After all, we’re only human!

The thing is that avoidance can’t fix anything. We have to come to terms with the offense, recognize our part in it, and own it. Isn’t that why God wants us to personally come and ask His forgiveness when we do something to offend Him? He wants to know we see the error of our ways and that our hearts grieve over the pain we may have caused. He’s looking for a heart softened by the regret we feel for what we’ve done. After all, God can only help a soft heart receive His gift of forgiveness. 

Most of us know instantly when someone owes us an apology. In fact, we might review the offense often just to keep it fresh in our minds. After all, who wants to forgive and forget when we weren’t to blame? The question though is “How quick are we to say those two big words when we are at fault?” What does it take for us to own up to the deed and shine a light on it?

Chances are you’ve been offended almost as often as you’ve given offense to someone else. When I’m reluctant to say those words, even when I know I’m totally to blame, I still hide from the insult, the unkind word, the obvious slight, and hope the whole thing just blows over without me having to do a thing about it. I somehow hope my apologies from past grievances can cover this one too. I mean can’t I just be forgiven without saying, I’m sorry? 

Jesus healed people sometimes simply by suggesting to them that their sins were forgiven. He knew that holding on to past grievances could cause actual disease. He knew that a lack of forgiveness was often at the root of the troubles and burdens that people carried around in their bodies. “Do you want to be healed?” Jesus asked one man. Perhaps He could have easily asked, “Do you want your sins to be forgiven?” 

Thankfully God isn’t keeping a tally of our offenses or setting a limit on how many times we can be forgiven. He is simply looking for o contrite heart that has the courage to say, “I’m Sorry!”

Here’s a little poem I wrote to summarize my thoughts:


Just two words can change things

When your world is in a mess,

The words are not too difficult,

Or even hard to guess.

They may not take away the wrong,

Or overturn the slight,

But they can make a difference

That helps to set things right.

The words mean that you understand

You also played a part

In causing some unhappiness

Or breaking someone’s heart.

Some people never say these words,

They just can’t find a way,

Yet no one is without regret

In things they do or say.

So, here they are, the words to speak

To help you make things new,

You’ll both just say, “I’m sorry!”

And ask God to help you too.



“Forgiveness can in no way change the past, but it can surely change the future.”

Bernard Meltzer