We move from the heady days of Spring into the long and lovely sun-drenched days of summer and the first word of summer we come to is ‘Sorry!’ This may seem a word that is out of place, since it is the word we use to begin the life of faith, but it is a good word because it leads us to understand something of the complexity that is life itself.
Though our walk with Jesus begins with repentance, when we say ‘Sorry!’ to him, it is easy to forget that our life in him can only grow when we learn the necessity and importance of saying ‘Sorry!’ again and again. The word ‘Sorry!’ is a word we are not to associate with either guilt or condemnation but freedom. When we say ‘Sorry!’ it is firstly, a recognition of our imperfect humanity. We recognise we are neither perfect nor omnicompetent and it liberates us from the extraordinary burden of having to prove it so. It sets us free us from the slavery of pride and the servitude of all our attitudes and actions being rooted in the need to be needed. It releases us from the worry of what people will think of us into the open spaces of being content with who we are. It unshackles us from any sense of inferiority and into the joy of being able to be pleased with who we are and what we do.
The word ‘Sorry!’ secondly, is our permission to enter a world shaped by grace. When we say ‘Sorry!’ we are not only asking God to treat us not as we deserve, but each other too. It is the recognition that we will never be good or holy or spiritual enough but that is ok. This does not mean that we are to be indifferent to who or what we are, or the call to be renewed daily by God’s Spirit because through grace we have the greatest incentive and motivation to know God at work within each one of us.
’The word ‘Sorry!’ thirdly, is the prompt given by the Spirit to not us to not settle for a low-grade experience of God’s love for us or hope for us. Instead, it is the greatest inducement to know not just more, more about Jesus but to also live more, more for Jesus and love deeper, deeper of Jesus. ‘Sorry!’ is the recognition that though I have failed, I refuse to be defined by this failure but that instead I choose to be defined by a growing hunger for God to make me more like his Son.
‘Sorry!’ does look back, but it only does so, so that we may then look to the front. It is a word that draws lines in the sand about the past and then draws an arrow to point us to the future. May it be a word that fills us all with faith and hope and love in Jesus and may these three things define and shape our living for him too.