What are the hardest three words to say? If you watch any romantic movie the answer is the three magical words, “I love you”. They are so full of meaning and so risky that it takes a courageous soul to utter them. Yet, in real life we utter them all the time. We love our dogs, we love Turkish Delight, and we love that song.
Yet, could it be there are three words we actually find so much harder to say in our culture? Think of how little you hear them, even when they are deserved. The three words? “I am sorry”, closely followed by “I was wrong”.
When Adam is questioned by God about eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, how does he respond? He blames Eve, who in turn blames the snake. Why? There is something in us that finds it hard to admit when we have done wrong. We rationalise our behaviour. We blame others. We deflect attention away.
After King David had slept with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, he was confronted by the prophet of God, Nathan. The latter confronted the king with his sin, and how did David respond? Did he blame Bathsheba for indiscreetly bathing where he could see? Does he point out Nathan’s failures? No. David simply replied “I have sinned.” Three hard but powerful words. He was saying, “I am sorry”.
It was a courageous move by the king. Perhaps it is because of choices like this that David was known as a man after the heart of God? The story of David is not of one who is perfect. He is incredibly flawed. Yet, he loves God and is prepared to acknowledge his wrong doing. His example challenges us to consider the choices we make when we fail.
In the moment with Nathan, David’s confession is immediately met with the words “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” It is grace. There are consequences for David, but he is not defined by this moment, nor abandoned because of his failure.
Next time you do something wrong, whether intended or not, consider the example of David. Find the courage to take the route of humility and admit your mistake. In a culture where we blame and deflect, we need people who are courageous enough to allow their lives to honour God. People who are prepared to set an example for others who themselves have failed and feel the pull to deny and deflect when faced with their own brokenness. When you say those three hard words, you will find God offering you grace, and your heart a little more aligned with the heart of God.