An Unqualified “I Am Sorry” Is So Aromatic

  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; According to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Ps. 51:1

Heavenly Father, few things are as attractive and aromatic as genuine humility. It’s like the smell of sweet sage, among multi-colored wildflowers in Glacier National Park, Montana. When someone offers a contrite heart, takes responsibility, and acknowledges the hurt they caused, it’s an alluring bouquet of grace.

But on the other end of the fragrance spectrum, there’s the smell of “I’m-sorry-but.” “I’m sorry, but you took what I said all wrong.” “I’m sorry, but if you weren’t so sensitive, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.” “I’m sorry, but if you lived through my last couple of weeks, you’d cut me some slack.” That’s the smell of spoiled self-righteousness, rotting on the lower shelf, in the back left corner of our heart-refrigerators.

Father, free us from our “I’m-sorry-buts.” May the Gospel free us to be quicker with: “I see I really hurt you.” “Tell me more about how my words and actions made you feel.” “I’m genuinely sorry, and I offer no qualifiers, just a sincere apology.” “What do you need from me?”

Your mercies are new every morning because we need them every day. Thank you. None of us is beyond the need or reach of your grace. Help us live this September Tuesday with a greater commitment to humility and kindness than defensiveness and rightness. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.