When a relationship is broken, the only way friendship can be restored is by one of the parties saying “I’m sorry”. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But these words are among the hardest things we ever have to say.
And sometimes it is the innocent party who has to say “I’m sorry.” The one who caused the breach in the first place may not have the strength or the courage to summon up these words, so the stronger partner has to be the one to do it, even though he or she was the one sinned against.
This is what happened with God and Mankind. We caused the mess of sin by our pride and selfishness, but we were trapped in human weakness and could not say Sorry in our own strength. So God, in the Person of his Son (the totally innocent party), came and said Sorry for the sin and evil and hatred and wickedness which had broken off man’s relations with God. And the costliness of this love was demonstrated by the form of the Apology – the Cross of Calvary.
I preached on this subject this morning, because our Gospel reading was the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. I love the way the story says “The Pharisee prayed thus WITH HIMSELF” – not a word of his smug prayer got through to God. And all the Publican could do was say “Kyrie eleison” and this prayer winged its way to the throne of grace.
That’s all we can do too, but thank God we now have the strength to do it; now we can say “I’m sorry” to God and to anyone we have hurt, because we do it in the strong union of Christ. Then love jumps like an arc of electricity from person to person, healing, reviving, glorying in the freedom of God’s life.