“I AM SORRY!”

“BUT ZACCHAEUS STOOD UP AND SAID TO THE LORD, ‘LOOK, LORD! HERE AND NOW I GIVE HALF OF MY POSSESSIONS TO THE POOR, AND IF I HAVE CHEATED ANYBODY OUT OF ANYTHING , I WILL PAY BACK FOUR TIMES THE AMOUNT.'” LUKE 19:8 NIV

READ: EXODUS 22: 7-9 AND LUKE 19: 1-9

WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE SORRY, YOU SHOULD MEAN IT FROM THE BOTTOM OF YOUR HEART.

HOW DO YOU TELL SOMEONE YOU ARE SORRY FOR MISSPOKEN WORDS OR WRONGFUL ACTIONS? MANY TIMES WE MAY SIMPLY IGNORE THE TRUTH OF WHAT WE HAVE SAID OR DONE AND HOPE IT WILL GO AWAY. IGNORING OUR HURTFUL WORDS OR WRONGFUL ACTIONS COULD ONLY MAKE THE SITUATION ESCALATE, CAUSE THE FAILURE OF A FRIENDSHIP OR DIVIDE FAMILIES. IF WE HARM SOMEONE WITH WORDS OR ACTIONS, WE NEED TO TAKE VERY SINCERE CORRECTIVE ACTIONS IMMEDIATELY.

THERE ARE FOUR STEPS TO CORRECT A WRONG.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SITUATION. UNDERSTAND THE HARM YOU CAUSED SOMEONE ELSE BY YOUR WORDS OR ACTIONS. CLEARLY GRASP THE HARM THAT YOU CARELESSLY OR UNINTENTIONALLY CAUSED. A LACK OF SINCERITY AT THIS FIRST STEP CAN DESTROY YOUR ATTEMPT TO SAY “I AM SORRY” FROM THE HEART.

2. BE REMORSEFUL AND ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY. BY UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOU MAY HAVE SAID OR DONE, YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THAT THE MISSPOKEN WORDS OR ACTIONS WERE NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ANYONE BUT YOU.

3. OFFER AN IMMEDIATE, SINCERE APOLOGY. DON’T ALLOW THE HURT TO WORSEN OR THE SITUATION TO BECOME MORE DIFFICULT OR TENSE THAN IT ALREADY IS. THE SOONER YOU SAY “I AM SORRY”, THE BETTER.

4. MAKE FULL RESTITUTION. RESTITUTION DOES NOT STOP WITH SIMPLY SAYING YOU ARE SORRY. ADDITIONAL WORDS AND ACTIONS ARE NECESSARY. HOW MANY WORDS OR WHAT TYPE OF ACTION DEPENDS UPON THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE RELATIONSHIP. IN ANY CASE, BE GENEROUS IN YOUR RESTITUTION. WITHOUT RESTITUTION, ARE YOU REALLY TELLING THE OTHER PERSON YOU ARE TRULY SORRY? WORDS ALONE CAN BE OFFERED WITHOUT SINCERITY, WHICH COULD LEAVE THE SITUATION UNRESOLVED. WHETHER IT IS REPLACING OR REPAIRING AN ITEM OR OFFERING A GIFT OF LOVE IN A DESIRE TO REMOVE THE WRONG, RESTITUTION BECOMES THE NECESSARY ‘ICING ON THE CAKE’. TAKE AWAY THE WRONG.

THERE ARE SEVERAL SCRIPTURE REFERENCES OF RESTITUTION. THE LAWS OF MOSES WERE CLEAR OF MAKING AMENDS FOR LOSSES ONE CAUSED TO ANOTHER. ZACCAHAEUS’ TESTIMONY OF HIS HIS REMORSE HAS TO STAND OUT IN SCRIPTURE AS NOT ONLY DRAMATIC BUT SHOWS HIS SINCERITY AS NO OTHER. IMAGINE A MAN OF HIS WEALTH WHICH WAS CREATED BY HIS POSITION AS A CHIEF TAX COLLECTOR. NOT ONLY WAS HE WILLING TO MAKE RESTITUTION, BUT HE DID IT WITH VERY GENEROUS AND HUMBLE SINCERITY.

ZACCAHAEUS REALIZED THE WRONGS HE HAD DONE. AS YOU READ THE LESSON IN LUKE, YOU CAN SEE THE FOUR STEPS OF ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS. WHEN WE SAY “I AM SORRY”, WE CAN PREPARE OUR HEARTS TO BE AS ZACCHAEUS AND GO TO THE ONE WE WRONGED WITH THE SAME GENEROUS AND HUMBLE SINCERITY?

IS IT TIME TO GO TO THE ONE YOU HAVE WRONGED AND SAY “I AM SORRY!”? IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO ASK TO BE FORGIVEN.