Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From Pride To Repentance: Why It Is So Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry

Get this for a link – only last Friday night I’m watching a interview programme with the rock/jazz/pop group Chicago. I had recorded it from a few days before and it was an opportune time to watch it. I’m not the biggest fan of Chicago, but they’ve done a few tunes that I’m familiar with that I like and I’d seen them in some videos with Earth, Wind and Fire and they were alright. I like Earth, Wind and Fire – not everything you understand, but I like them. Then to find out Bill Champlin who plays for Chicago also wrote After The Love Has Gone that EWF popularised was a nice connection.

Anyhow, so I’m watching the interview and am not really that impressed by the level of knowledge that’s coming from it, but I am impressed by the music that they play some of which I hadn’t heard before but are apparently part of the group’s greatest hits, if you will. So I finish at that and think nothing of it.

Then on my way home from the teacher training session last night I’m reflecting further in preparation for last night’s blog and I’m walking through a walkway in a shopping precinct and I pass a pub that’s playing Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry. It’s one of those occasions where a song just sticks to your head. You get me? You may have had a tune before, or a train of thought, but that is interrupted by the distinctive song that you actually like. (Yeah, I know it works with songs you don’t like as well, but let’s keep it positive.)

So I’m going back home with this song in my head from a group whose interview I’d seen last Friday, but it still doesn’t connect with me yet what it has to do with anything. Indeed when I got home and put together the blog the song was no longer dominant in my thinking for as I wrote the blog I was also watching an episode of Columbo that I’d also recorded from Sunday. (Have I mentioned what a blessing the SkyPlus box is? Especially when there’s nothing on to watch!)

However this morning I wake up and in my head I’m thinking back on the entry I’d written and I thought to myself in all I wrote about frustration and the like I wasn’t quite sure I’d expressed the sorrow I had in actually partaking in something hazardous to my relationship with God. In a sense I was blocking God out. Shutting off a relationship that means life to me. And I hadn’t said I was sad about that, or even sorry, or even repentant.

Although I hadn’t expressed it in the blog, however implicitly you want to read into it, I was and am sorry about it. Not that it was essential to blog it, but the thought in my head was around the process of reconciliation which requires some level of acknowledgement of hurts made and a desire to build bridges to re-establish that healthy relationship.

As I thought further I considered why it is so hard for me to say I’m sorry (ahhh you see how it all connects now, eh?) and this may just be me, but there’s something about saying sorry that acknowledges failing on your part. That requires a level of humiliating yourself, lowering yourself, placing yourself at the mercy of someone else. For it to work effectively for the health of the relationship this lowering of self has to be genuine and not only expressed in words but reinforced with action to follow.

Thus in a very real way sorry works with repentance. That is to say I really mean I’m sorry when I turn 180 degrees from the wrong (misguided, ignorant, stubborn, pig-headed, rebellious, contentious, argumentative, selfish) direction that I had set for myself, and walk in humility towards reconnecting and doing whatever is necessary great or small to do that. Yet there is the rub, who wants to really admit they are wrong? Who really actually wants to put away their agenda, genuinely for the interests of the other. And I mean for the interests of the other, because situations can be manipulated only too well that seeks to get our agenda done anyway by going through an appearance of repentance. That is why for me it is so hard to say I’m sorry, because it feels as though I lose.

Then again that highlights the same point I was making yesterday that it reveals the true nature of my heart – how self-centred, self-satisfying, self-justifying and self-gratifying I am to the cost of anyone else. Thankfully, as I’ve found from occasion to occasion, when the love breaks through, those issues are swept away to be replaced by that awesome character of Christ that is humble, meek, gentle, approachable, flexible, patient and in every way that which makes for peace. My ego, reputation and desire to be right is blown away to actually desperately wanting to maintain and enjoy this true life-giving relationship with God through Jesus.

As a result the best position for me to be in as a follower of Jesus is a repentant one as experience by experience He shows me His way as opposed to my way and how turning to His way from my own works in our best interests.

For His Name's Sake



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