Maybe if you’re my age you remember a film called Love Story. It popularized the phrase, love means you never have to say you’re sorry. It sounds good, I guess. Romantic somehow. I think it’s meant to convey the idea that if we love someone enough, if we understand them completely, we won’t need an apology to feel their remorse. Unfortunately it’s not true. Most of us know from personal experience that failure to apologize for hurting someone leads to further hurt and maybe even a relationship that is completely broken.
The greatest love story of all time is the story of God’s love for His people as recorded in the Bible. All human love is a reflection of that first love. Listen to what God says to us about saying you’re sorry:
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9
Some may take this legalistically, turning it into a rule that says we must search and search our life, notice and remember every sin we’ve ever committed and list them out and confess them, in order to appease God’s wrath. But this isn’t true. He knows we can’t confess every wrong doing because there are so many we commit without even realizing it. Sin is our default setting. God doesn’t tell us to confess to punish us, or make us feel bad. He wants us to realize we are sinners and confess, so that we can experience His forgiveness and feel better. Listen to what David says in Psalm 51 after his confession of adultery with Bathsheba:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
Not confessing our sins leads to separation from God and others. Confessing heals and restores. It’s good for the soul.