“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” Ps. 51:1–2

Loving Father, few things are as attractive as genuine humility. It’s like a 4-course meal in a 5-star eatery. A contrite heart + taking responsibility + a sincere apology + the offer of restitution—this is relational-cuisine that makes demons flee and angels sing.

Yet too often we’re like short-order cooks in a fast-food drive through. We say things like…

“I’m sorry, but I had a bad week.”

“I’m sorry, but you’re way too fragile.”

“I’m sorry, but you just took it the wrong way.”

“I’m sorry, but at least I’m not like your mother.”

“I’m sorry, but I’m an Enneagram #1 and you’re a #4”

Father, nowhere in your Word is “I’m sorry, but” celebrated as the vocabulary of contrition. Instead, may these words flow from our hearts: “I can see I really hurt you. What do you need from me?” “Tell me more how my words and actions made you feel.” “I’m genuinely sorry, and I offer no qualifiers, just an apology.”

By grace, you’ve forgiven all our sins—past, present, and future. May this astonishing Gospel-reality make it difficult, if not impossible, for us to remain clueless, careless, and heartless about our impact on others. May we forgive as you’ve forgiven us, period. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.