Ever met anyone whose favourite expression is ‘I’m sorry’?
Some might consider it an admirable trait to be perpetually penitent.
And certainly humility is a good thing, as is taking ownership when we really have done something wrong. But to be continually self-deprecatory? To constantly assume we’re the ones in the wrong?…
Some people seem to be almost apologising for their existence. And when you’ve had parents who’ve put you down, and made it hard for you to prove your worth in their eyes… well, it’s easy to then assume the worst about yourself in every situation.
To take on the default stance of ‘I’m sorry’ indicates a mindset that everything is always your fault. Or that perhaps you desperately need to maintain the image of being kind, compliant, easygoing. Or maybe, as in my case, you’re avoiding conflict. Ensuring I take credit for mishaps that might be another person’s fault helps to assuage my fear of people’s anger.
But we need some balance.
Many Christians believe there’s something extra ‘holy’ about staying sorrowful over how sinful we are. And absolutely – we often need reminders that God has saved us from ourselves. It’s not our doing that we “were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to [us] from [our] forefathers” (I Peter 1:18). But the key word is ‘redeemed’.
Dictionary.com defines redeemed as “to buy or pay off; clear by payment”. And Jesus has done that. He paid off our debt of sin on the cross. He died so we might be set free. No longer a slave to sin and its accompanying guilt and shame.
If we don’t live our lives as ones redeemed, we are more prone to remain in a perpetual state of depression and unhealthy, destructive sorrow which stunts our growth and our ministry.
Sure, we all sin, every day. And, as in any healthy relationship, open communication with God (who already knows our hearts and actions anyway) enables us to repent and move on. Obviously some misdemeanors leave deep scars, and counselling can be necessary to assess whether the relationship can be rescued. But when it comes to the daily attitudes, actions or omissions in our lives, it pays to make things right with people by being honest and turning from our ways whenever we can.
But the key has to be in the turning. The action of moving away from the wrong and making things right.
If your spouse took money from your joint account to support a gambling habit, then came and told you how sorry he was, with tears in his eyes – well, you’d be pleased, at least, that he was honest and apologetic about it. But if he didn’t take steps to stop what he was doing, the ‘sorrys’ wouldn’t mean much. And your relationship would start to deteriorate.
God’s love is infinite, and he chooses to be in a relationship with people who have and will make mistakes. Our flaws don’t affect his love for us. But our relationship with God won’t grow or be enhanced if we remain in sin. And when we’re imprisoned by habits, we start to worship them rather than God, and we don’t experience the joy and fulfillment a ‘real’ relationship with Him offers. We are missing out.
I know what it’s like to be imprisoned by thoughts I know are unhealthy. I feel trapped, and it seems futile to say ‘I’m sorry’ to God endlessly. But when I have asked for help from others, and have truly allowed the darkness to be extinguished by the light through positive steps in a different direction, I have discovered true freedom from ‘addiction’.
Words are meaningless without actions attached. If you are truly sorry for something, seek help to change your ways. And ask our beautiful God of endless love, grace and forgiveness to walk with you through the valley. You won’t be sorry.
“For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NLV)
Awesome and relatable post. Thanks for sharing, I am right with you on this. It is one thing to be ignorant of our accountability, it is another to let the enemy drown us in self-condemnation. It is one thing to ask for forgivness when we can see our mistakes, it is another to make steps toward changes, so we can stop saying sorry for that same mistake over and over again. Keep up the great work. Blessings to you!
So well put! I agree… May we all walk in such freedom, and truly know victory over the enemy who seeks to take from us.
Thanks for your encouragement, be blessed!
Yes, Water Bearer, absolutely a relate-able post! Powerful words, Ali, and very well put.
I have just emerged from my morning prayer time and then I read your words: If we don’t live our lives as ones redeemed, we are more prone to remain in a perpetual state of depression and unhealthy, destructive sorrow which stunts our growth and our ministry.
I was praying about and asking God what it is that I may be “carrying” as a burden on my shoulders, weighing me down. Your post, and my pastor’s unsolicited prayer for me Sunday morning, are surely God’s own words to my heart.
Thank you, dear sister, for your faithfulness in sharing words that help heal hearts…God bless you, Ali.
Thank you Sheila!
And I’m so glad God used the post to speak to your beautiful heart in that way. May you continue to abide in Him and his truth, and walk free of burden.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Heb 2:1-2)
This is so good, Ali–I can relate well to much of it. God bless you and your family today–love, sis Caddo
Thank you Caddo – I’m glad 🙂 Thanks so much for dropping by to read and be an encouragement. Blessings,
Thank you Ali! You have put words to something that I have felt, but didn’t know how to describe. Praying for that balance so as not to always get stuck on being a sinner, but remembering that I’m redeemed. God bless you, God’s girl, as you move us from being sorry to being saved from our sins and set free to live in Him!
I’m so glad Debbie… and yes, it is a balance that can be hard to find. But I’m praying with you that you may always walk in freedom as ‘redeemed woman of God’ – His identity bestowed upon you because of the cross and His resurrection.
Amen! – thanks so much and God bless you richly!
Great message, Ali. I recognized myself in being quick to say, “I’m sorry,” when I didn’t really need to be. Low self-esteem and humility are not the same thing. 🙂 Thankful for my Redeemer!
Thanks Patti. Well said – may we each walk in humility, not self-depracation.
He’s wonderful isn’t He!
Reblogged this on amberdover and commented:
Great post Ali! 🙂 Enjoy the reblog friends.
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
Thanks so much for the re-blog Amber! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
I could relate to several points here. I don’t particularly like conflict either, so I sometimes offer apologies to make it go away. Couldn’t agree more that words are worthless without actions. If we’re truly sorry then we will pray to God for the change we need.
Yes I suppose it’s a defence mechanism for many of us. Yes, for sure. Thanks so much Janna for reading – hope you’re having a great week 🙂
Dear lord jesus, i come before u with my heart full of ur love and passion just to say am sincerely so sorry for sinning against u,i didnt wanted to,i aways wanted to live for u with purity,righteousness and holyness.i always wanted to be the best for u just make u happy,i always wanted to make u smile about my life….i always wanted to please u but i always find myself failling….becoming emotional and following my will instead of ur will…..father i know u r so real and so genuine…..i know u r there ….and u so holy …..and i know u love me sop me so much …….all i want is u,all i need is u….all i want to be is like u jesus…..i really cant explain how exactly i feel about u….the love….the peace….the treasure…..but all i know ur truth will always remain…..and its the answer of everything….lord all i want is just u looking at me be proud of me,be happy about me….i love u jesus and forever am urs n u r mine…just know that i love u so so much