Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just Two Simple Words

One of my favorite childhood stories is Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss.  It is a wonderful story about an arrogant King who decides that he wants to rule the sky as well as the land.  He brings terrible problems upon his people and ultimately himself when he has his magicians cook up a dangerous, sticky new kind of precipitation called oobleck.  The story ends with Bartholomew, his page-boy, courageously speaking the truth to the foolish king.  He told him it took just two simple words to set things right.  Those two words were, "I'm sorry." 

Those two simple words are some of the hardest words to teach my children to say.  If I'm honest, they are two of the hardest words for me to say.  Saying, "I'm sorry," is saying I was wrong.  It is a blow to my pride.  Admitting fault is difficult.

I often get frustrated with my children when I ask them to tell their brother or sister they are sorry.  I hear, "But it wasn't my fault.  They pushed me first.  He called me a name before I called him fat."   Deep down though I understand because my own mind comes up with these same sort of excuses when I need to apologize to someone.  I blame the other person.  I blame the circumstances of the day.  Or I say it's PMS.  God probably is shaking his head and saying my very own words, "Quit making excuses and take responsibility for your own actions."

Why are these two simple words so hard to say?  The plain and simple answer is pride.  

It is humbling to say, "I'm sorry."  Yet Scripture instructs us to exhibit the quality of humility.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better then yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."  Philippians 2:3,4

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was the ultimate picture of humility.

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross."  Philippians 2:5-8

If he could humble himself to the status of a man and take responsibility for the sins of the world, how much more should I be willing to humble myself enough to say those two simple words and take responsibility for my own sin.

I'm Sorry! 

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