How important is it to say you’re sorry? You know for us as Christians we realize how important it is to repent of our sins. To confess our sins to God to tell him that we’re sorry for our sins. But is it really as important to say we’re sorry to other people, to the people we have wronged, the people we have hurt?
Now, we might be surprised to discover that the Bible actually doesn’t talk much about this topic. Just in a few places. But I think a good place for us to go to is this one. Jesus says
“So if you are about to offer your gift at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother. Then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)
You know those verses talk about how important it is to say you’re sorry. Jesus makes the point that even if you’re going to do something good, to worship God by giving him your offerings, perhaps in thanksgiving and praise for what he has done, if you remember along the way that you have wronged someone, that they are angry with you because what you have done, leave your offering there and fix your relationship with your brother first. Go and apologize, be reconciled to him first, then come and give your offering to the Lord.
These verses in some ways reflect or show to us what God says in many other ways in the scriptures that he is concerned more so with what the heart thinks than rather with outward actions. He wants our hearts to be in the right place not just our outward actions, not just our praise and words have been offerings of the Lord, but also to come before him with the right attitude. And the way we do that as Christians is to have a repentant attitude. Not just sorry for our sins before God, but even sorry before our fellow man. Sorry that we have offended them. Sorry that we have done wrong. God invites us to be reconciled to them.
You know throughout his ministry, Jesus had a similar message. His message was this: the kingdom of heaven is near. Repent and believe the gospel. Was encouraging people to be part of his kingdom by saying they’re sorry for their sins, but also by believing the gospel. By trusting the good news of the forgiveness of all of their sins.
If you read down just a few verses after our text for today you’ll find that one of the motivations Jesus gives for us to be reconciled to our brother is to make amends with him, to say we’re sorry to receive his forgiveness before Judgment Day, lest we come before the judge who will not take so kindly to an impenitent sinner. What greater motivation do we even have than that to say we’re sorry? Because we know of the tremendous forgiveness that God gives for each and every one of us as Christians. So much so that we can come before God and say we’re sorry, and know he’ll forgive us. We can even come before our fellow man or brother and if we know that person is a Christian they too will assure us of their forgiveness and God’s forgiveness. Amen.
Let us pray.
Dear Lord, we see the importance of apologizing to those who we have wronged give us courage and fortitude to regularly do so. Assure us always of our forgiveness for Christ sake. Amen.