One key word that parents try to teach their children is ‘sorry’. Maybe we can remember our own parents trying to get us to apologise for hitting our brother/ sister or for breaking the window, or whatever!
Can you remember that battle within you as you knew what you should say, but pride and stubbornness made this small word the hardest word to say!
The next stage for parents is when their child has got the hang of saying the word, ‘sorry’, but they then have to teach them to really mean it! If we’re honest, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve been at least tempted to say ‘sorry’, just to get off the hook! I know I have.
If I really believe that what I have done is wrong, then my sorry will mean far more. And that raises two questions: Are there clear rights and wrongs, and if so, am I willing to take responsibility for my actions? If there are clear rights and wrongs, then logically, when I do or say something not right, I must genuinely apologise and take steps to avoid doing or saying it again.
Jesus clearly believed in rights and wrongs. He believed in a standard that is higher than human opinion – God’s standard. Let’s face it, if rights and wrongs are just down to human opinions, then you could end up justifying a mass murderer – “Oh well, he thought it was OK!”
Even the fact that most people now would regard murder as wrong, isn’t that secure. There have been many occasions in history where communities have been persuaded that even genocide was acceptable.
The Bible teaches that God’s standard is far reaching, dealing not just with our visible behaviour, but also the very attitudes of our hearts. So, for example, murder is wrong, but so is the festering hatred in the heart.
It appears that a major problem in our society today is the erosion of a serious sense of right and wrong: at least, our view of wrong isn’t serious enough. It follows then, that we don’t take real responsibility for our behaviour, and respect for each other is eroded too.
The Bible teaches that rights and wrongs and personal responsibility need to be taken seriously. This raises some more questions: after sincerely apologising to whoever I’ve hurt, how do I get the record straight with God whom I’ve also offended, and how can I find the strength to be different?
The great news is that Jesus came to pay the price to put our record right with God. Getting right with God is a fully paid-for gift! It’s a gift we receive as we trust in Jesus Christ – committing our lives to him. The other fantastic news, is that the Spirit of God will give us the power, bit by bit, to change for the better.
Now in the case of our society, as well as our individual salvation, where does it all begin? It all starts with learning to say, and to truly mean, that hardest of words: ‘Sorry’!