Robust Apologies Release Abundant Grace

How often we hear celebrities and politicians trying walk back “misstatements” and gaffes.  It is often hilarious to see the gymnastics of their PR machines attempting to re-create the past and find that crack to wiggle through.

“I was taken out of context.”

“Clearly that is not what I meant.”

“I was tired.”

“I was dehydrated.”

“Anyone who knows me would know that I could not have meant that the way it is being portrayed.”

“My position has evolved.”

“I regret if anyone was offended.”

Etc.

It is hard to imagine what people think they gain from this.  Certainly not credibility or respect, though one might admire their brass.

Here is an example of a real apology.  Click here for context.  This details are a bit complicated, but for the purposes of this blog, I’m more concerned with the beautiful assurance of forgiveness that can come with a real repentance.  See what you think:

Dishonesty never heals, and the truth glossed over cannot bring freedom. How much better it would have been for the Rev. Canon Dr. Unuigbe and for the Church as a whole if he had simply come clean as we all must do when we sin or err. Had he confessed, not only to his Primate, but to all the church, publicly (for he erred publicly), and said

“I have sinned. I have taught what is false and led many away from the true Gospel. I now know that I was wrong and how I regret my words and actions. I pray that you, and most of all, my Lord might have mercy on me and forgive me for my sins.”

To such a confession the Church would throw open her arms in joyful welcome. And that earthly welcome is only a shadow of the blood-bought mercy, forgiveness, grace, and compassion, that flows from our Savior’s kind heart to all who repent and cry to him for help. To mince words, to fail to acknowledge sin in its depths, to stop short of requiring full confession, while it may seem a great kindness, dams up the rivers of cleansing and mercy that would otherwise flow unhindered.

Come To Your Senses

What does it mean to “come to one’s senses”?  One dictionary says, “to start thinking rationally,” another, “to begin to think in a sensible or correct way after being foolish or wrong.”

What if we just took it literally and decided simply to come from wherever we are “to our senses” and oriented ourselves to what our senses are telling us?  Could coming to our five senses help us be more sensible or rational?  I think so.

Have you noticed that your senses only operate in the present.  They are no help for reflecting on the past or planning for the future.  We try to visualize the future or vividly remember the past, but those aren’t actual sensations.  When we come to our senses we are coming to the present.  And that is often the first step toward sanity.

Most of our most painful problems lie in the past or in the future.  Coming to our senses drags us for a moment away from those places of torment.  Of the two the future is the most dangerous.  You can easily provide your own reasons why this is the case.

In comparison, the present is pretty safe.  CS Lewis says that the present is the most like eternity.  It is in fact the point where time and eternity meet–moment by moment.  And that is why the present is where we find God.

We can come to our senses anytime, anywhere.  Just stop and look.  Notice the color of something in your field of vision.  Sniff the air.  Lick your lips.  Listen for a second.  What do you hear?  Feel the texture of the fabric stretched across your knee.  Wiggle your toes in your shoe. Take a deep breath.  Feel your rib cage swell and tighten.

Keep noticing for as long as you can.  It won’t be long before your thoughts drag you to the future or the past.  But for those few moments your senses gave you the gift of the present and a taste of eternity.

Next time try saying a word of thanks to God for something you noticed when you came to your senses.  He will be there ready to listen.

God’s Assurance

I was blessed by this from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest

He Himself has said….So we may boldly say… Heb. 13:5-6

My assurance is to be built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6). In other words, I will not be obsessed with apprehension. This does not mean that I will not be tempted to fear, but I will remember God’s words of assurance. I will be full of courage, like a child who strives to reach the standard his father has set for him. The faith of many people begins to falter when apprehensions enter their thinking, and they forget the meaning of God’s assurance— they forget to take a deep spiritual breath. The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.
What are you fearing? Whatever it may be, you are not a coward about it— you are determined to face it, yet you still have a feeling of fear. When it seems that there is nothing and no one to help you, say to yourself, “But ‘The Lord is my helper’ this very moment, even in my present circumstance.” Are you learning to listen to God before you speak, or are you saying things and then trying to make God’s Word fit what you have said? Take hold of the Father’s assurance, and then say with strong courage, “I will not fear.” It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in our way, because “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you….’ ”
Human frailty is another thing that gets between God’s words of assurance and our own words and thoughts. When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be nonexistent. But remember God’s assurance to us— “I will never…forsake you.” Have we learned to sing after hearing God’s keynote? Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, “The Lord is my helper,” or are we yielding to fear?