Magic Words

Read: 2 Corinthians 7:2-13

When our daughter was very young she loved watching the large purple dinosaur named “Barney” on T.V.. One of Barney’s best known songs was a song that encouraged children to use the magic words of “please” and “thank you.” Even as I write about it now the song begins to echo in my mind once again.

As adults those words are still very helpful and polite to use of course, but in people relationships there are two other words that are of utmost importance. Those two words are “I’m Sorry!” At almost every wedding I am a part of I will somehow include the encouragement to the bride and groom to make those magic words a part of their normal vocabulary.

When we are willing and able to be sorry for something we have done to someone else, and speak it to them, we open the door for true, meaningful, and healing reconciliation to take place. When we are not sorry, the festering and anger often lead us to a boiling point that is neither healthy or Godly.

In this passage from 2 Corinthians Paul is talking more about the repentance of the church than he is about repentance between individuals. But the results are similar. The repentance that restores our relationship with Christ can also restore our relationships with friends, your spouse, your child, a co-worker, or anyone else.

In verse 9 Paul says, “Yet now I am made happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led to repentance.” Hannah More once said, “A Christian will find it cheaper to pardon than to resent. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.”

Being sorry and granting forgiveness is a two-way street. But if we are willing to walk that path with each other our lives can be so much more enjoyable and our relationships so much stronger than if we hang on to those wrongs and hurt feelings.

At some point in all of our lives we are going to do something, say something, or react to something in a way that is sinful and/or wrong. What we do about it after the fact matters a lot! Someone once said, “He that doth not forgive burns the bridge over which he himself will someday need to pass.” We could also add “He that does not ask for forgiveness” as well.

Barney called them “Magic Words” but I think we as Christians should call them “Godly Words.” After all it pleases the heart of God when we are truly sorry and repentant and we make it known to the Lord and to those we have wronged.

Make it personal: How hard is it for you to say “I’m Sorry!” How many times have you spoken those words in the last month or year? Think about that this week and be aware of the opportunities you have to speak those words. You will find both healing and blessings when they become a part of your everyday vocabulary.

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church