TWO NECESSARY INGREDIENTS.
Suppose you were walking down your street and a friend of yours suddenly burst out of his house and deliberately knocked you down on the sidewalk. Now suppose that friend said to you, "Hey, it wasn't my fault. You would've done the same thing if you'd had the chance." How would you feel hearing that sort of thing? You'd be angry, right?
OK, suppose the friend said instead, "I didn't mean anything by it." How would you feel then? Would you be satisfied with that?
More than likely you wouldn't be satisfied, right?
God doesn't want us to say such things when we make a mistake or do something wrong. Why? Because none of those phrases contains the two necessary ingredients of repentance. Do you know what those two necessary ingredients of repentance are? Confession and apology.
In other words, if you do something wrong, you shouldn't try to defend yourself or excuse your actions by saying something like, "It wasn't my fault!" or "She deserved it!" Instead, the best way to respond to a mistake or a sin is with two simple statements:
"I was wrong."
That's what David said in Psalm 32 when he told God, "I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord' (Psalm 32:5, NIV). He didn't try to explain or excuse what he'd done. He didn't try to cover it up. He admitted he was wrong and confessed his sin to God.
That's the path to forgiveness with God and with anyone. After all, we all make mistakes. We have all sinned. But when you do make a wrong choice, the best way to respond to it is to say, "I was wrong. I'm sorry." When you do that, you open the door to forgiveness.
REFLECT: Do you ever have trouble saying, "I was wrong" and "I'm sorry"? Why or why not? How do you plan to respond the next time you do something wrong?
PRAY: "Father, sometimes I don't like to admit I'm wrong and apologize. Please help to confess and apologize for my wrongs to you and to anyone I have hurt."