“If you repent, I will restore you, that you may serve me;” – Jeremiah 15:19
When I was in high school the movie, “Love Story” hit the theatres. It was story of a love-hate relationship between two people that ended prematurely when the girl dies from cancer. One pivoting moment in this movie came when the guy told her he was sorry for something he’d done. She looks him in the eye and says, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
I’ve recently had the opportunity to share a writing venture with a dear friend. As we develop the characters this same love-hate relationship seems to be emerging. For one reason or another this early 1970’s movie keeps bubbling to surface and I continually hear this phrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” However profound the comment seemed in the 70’s, it falls nothing short of false.
Explain to me how individuals can develop any sort of lasting relationship without having said they were sorry. It can’t be done (at least if they want something lasting). Many of our churches today focus on the positive aspects of Christianity. God is love. God forgives. God understands. However, somewhere along the way they don’t want to step on toes or bring the Christian to a snap attention. “We need to teach the love of Christ.” Well of course we need to teach the love of Christ, but we have an obligation scripturally to teach repentance as well.
None of us wants to think that we err in our ways. The fact is, we are all sinners. Over and over through the scripture, we are taught to repent – recognize our fallacies, make the efforts to change them, and fall before the Father and ask forgiveness. You see, love IS saying you’re sorry. A love without forgiveness is love built on false security and it’s a bridge waiting to collapse.
The loving side of God is amazing, awesome, and mind boggling, but without our willingness to admit our sin then making the effort to change, there is no solid relationship. God is love, and peace. He is joy and hope, but He hates sin. Why would we think less? He sent His son to pay the price.
Regardless of the relationship, whether husband/wife, sister/brother, friend/friend, there must be a time to admit when we are wrong and seek forgiveness. There must be a time to heal when we hurt. As profound as the movie put it, it’s still misleading. Real love means saying you’re sorry. The healing that comes is the prize. Aren’t we fortunate that God offers us this promise of forgiveness? We only have to ask.
Prayer: Oh Father, we often misunderstand the ways of forgiveness. Teach us, Lord. Teach us.