In my house, as a dad, I have the incredible privilege of raising two beautiful young ladies….Well, actually my amazing wife is raising them, but I try to help wherever I can! Anyway, one of the phrases that’s popular with my young ladies right now is “Sorry, not sorry.” It’s a phrase I hear in the world around me all the time, too. It’s all over social media, music, TV — sometimes it’s fun…and sometimes it’s serious.
Now, I don’t know about you, but what this phrase reminds me of is how hard it is to say we’re sorry. It’s SO much easier to do something and then say, “Hey, yeah, I did that, I said that, and you can deal with it because I am who I am.” In today’s culture, it’s like as long as we’re “being ourselves,” we can be totally unapologetic for how that might affect another person.
No matter who you are or where you come from, we can all agree on this…
A world where we don’t care about other people and what they think, is not a world we want to live in.
The crazy thing about words is they’re creative. I don’t just mean in an artistic sense (although words can be an incredible art form). God used words to create the universe; he spoke things into existence (see the amazing creation account in Genesis 1). Since human beings are uniquely created in God’s image and likeness, our words have the power to create realities for other people – we can either build them up or destroy them. And those words we share with other people…they are windows to our hearts! Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). In some ways that is a terrifying thought. Why? Because we realize that if our words convey judgment, hatred, fear, malice, anger — it’s because those things are in our hearts, and the “real us” is not lining up with who our God is and who he created us to be!
The good news is God’s love and grace literally change us from the inside out….And that’s not because God’s some type of self-help behavior modification plan. God, through his Spirit, because of the finished work of Jesus, wants to do an inside-out work in our hearts! The fruit of this heart change is a change in all our behavior, including our words.
We can embrace the amazing opportunity to partner with Jesus in the work he’s already doing in our hearts, and that work will overflow into the lives of others.
Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31). In other words, “sorry, not sorry” becomes a thing of the past in his world. Jesus challenges us to live in a way that says, “I am sorry because I inconvenienced you…I’m sorry I hurt you…I’m sorry that my choice was not the right one when it comes to the way you see life…I care about you enough to lay my own feelings aside, my own expectations, and see how I can be a blessing to you today.”
And here’s the beautiful thing: Jesus is already at work addressing the root cause of our words (our hearts). He’s doing the work, so…all we need to do is let him!
Let God do a radical heart work in and through you today. As you speak, be quick to apologize to God and the people in your life for destructive words (whether they’re spoken, texted, emailed or commented on). We also need to perform regular heart checks on the core values of what we say. Are your words rooted in the radical love, joy, peace, and grace of God or in the fear, anger, judgment, and brokenness of humanity? Every time you speak, it will be a glorious opportunity to run into the arms of Jesus who died to deliver us from our own brokenness, and be a blessing to everyone you meet!
[For extra reading on what God thinks about the words we use, read James 3, Proverbs 10, and Ecclesiastes 5.]