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  • Jeff Bergstrom

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Good Sunday Morning,

Do you remember in 1976 when Elton told us that “sorry seems to be the hardest word”? What about in 1982 when Peter was hanging out in Chicago and told us all that “It was hard for him to say I'm sorry”?

Now, saying sorry is not difficult for everyone, for example Adele called someone a thousand times in 2015 to say, “I'm sorry for everything that I've done.” If you ask me, a thousand times seems a bit like stalking, but that’s not the focus of this message. Personally, it’s too bad that these folks did not pay attention to Brenda when she came out in 1960 and told us what to do - she simply said, “I'm sorry, so sorry.”

We all know that being sorry means being regretful for a particular action or inaction (sort of like “what we have done and what we have left undone” . . . sound familiar?).

Being sorry is not the same as saying we are sorry. When we say we’re sorry, that means that we are admitting our mistake (or whatever we did wrong) and taking responsibility for our action.

Now, I realize that apologizing doesn't come easy or natural for many people, but I’m pretty sure it is something we should all strive to do. . . for as Jesus taught us, as we pray to God a part of the Lord’s prayer . . . forgive us our trespasses.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. That sounds like a worthy pursuit; don’t you agree?

And from the gospel of Matthew, we are told that “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary. Matthew 5:23-25. In other words, settling our differences with others is important enough that we should do so before presenting ourselves to God.

Of course, it goes without saying (which is, in itself, an interesting saying, since it almost always precedes whatever it is that you are about to say anyway) that your apology must be sincere, but I’m sure if the words come from you that it would be, since just a couple of weeks ago you and I talked about the importance of telling the truth - remember?

And, as a follow up, when you say, “I’m sorry,” it must be appropriate to also ask for forgiveness, since Jesus also taught us, as part of the aforementioned prayer . . . “to forgive those that trespass against us.”

What I am saying this week is simple. If you need to say you're sorry – say it – don’t put it off, or worse, not say it at all. And if someone sincerely apologizes to you, accept their apology. We aren’t perfect, but most of us try hard . . . remember that . . . and fortunately, our God does.

So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, then sit back, relax . . . give and receive all apologies with love and grace. . . and then take solace in knowing that the Lord has made this day; may you rejoice and be glad in it.

Jeff Bergstrom

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