All the theology I need


I have met people who find it hard to say one small word. A word that is a healing word. A healing that we all need as we go through life. That one word is “Sorry”.

I am sorry. I am really sorry. I apologise. I made a mistake. I let you down. I didn’t think. I am so sorry.

And I have never understood those who cannot – will not – say sorry. When I ask why, the answer is usually “Why should I?” (which is a “check-mate” kind of move in connecting conversation). Or the infamous “I’m not the one who should apologise”  (which has lots of conversation possibilities – but none are helpful right then). And the most logical of all: “I never apologise” – for which I have no response (other than gritted teeth).

What is the big deal about apologising? I irritated you, I hurt you, I was less than you expected, you have standards for me that I don’t have for myself … ? Let’s heal. I am sorry.

I wish I could be all the things you want. I would really like to be able to decipher every fleeting need you have in this second. I never want to hurt you. I never want to hurt myself. I can be clumsy. But rarely do I wish you harm or hurt. I am really sorry that I have.

“Jesus also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” Luke 12 : 54-59

I always find these verses unsettling. I have never known how to interpret “the present time”. I hear a lot of interpretations (mostly negative). I hear lots of prayers (mostly desperate). But I have never been able to forecast the weather (other than what is happening right now or the next few hours). And I have never wanted to interpret “the present time”. But I wonder if I should. As a Good Christian should I be “spiritually forecasting” the present time.

I am sorry.

Does saying sorry mean I will never repeat whatever it was I said sorry for? Must saying sorry be life-changing? Mean that those behaviours and responses never see the light of day again by my very saying of sorry? That I may be crucified on high for all to see if I repeat that behaviour or response ever again? And does the absence of apology, the “I never say sorry” approach mean that those behaviours and responses may be repeated at will for ever more – conscience-free, blame free, apology-free?

And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?

Why do we still cling to The Law? Why do we still cling to the “killer verses”? Why do we still cling to aggressive “but the bible says so” (and the defensive “show me the verses then”)?

Why do we still struggle with not being able to judge for ourselves what is right?  Because that is – for me – MUCH more loving than spiritual weather forecasting.

Imagine being able to walk our journey without needing a bible knowledge of degree level, without needing the kit-bag of all those biblical and theological must-haves, the can’t leave home without, the what if they ask a question I can’t answer, the what if they start talking about all that “contentious stuff”, the what if I am put on the spot “stuff” – all the “religious baggage” – all the “Christian tradition” stuff – all the stuff of burden and duty.

And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?

I leave home with no spiritual weather forecast, no coat, no bag – every day.

Unconditional Love is not a coat I put on, nor something I keep in a bag, nor in any weather forecast I have ever seen. Saying sorry is not a technique or strategy. Because both are becoming who I am. And both arise from an absolute confidence in my Lord and Father and Friend who does, and will, provide in all things – always.

And that is the only theology I need.

Some call that “a good attitude” or “the right frame of mind” or “thinking positively”. And others call that “mind games” and “self-delusion” and “religious brainwashing”.

Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?

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9 thoughts on “All the theology I need

  1. May I just say, “AMEN!”

    When I hear or read, “I will not apologize, for I have done nothing wrong,” tells me the person saying or writing is unwilling to look deeper inside, unwilling to have a true conversation, unwilling to look at the pain or hurt in another person’s heart. Being unapologetic is about rigidity and defensiveness, not about relationship or love.

  2. Why can’t a person say they’re sorry? It’s spelled p-r-I-d-e. Also what Susan said, the person never considers the other, which is pretty much what agape love means. It’s other-centered love.

    Reminds me of when God rather matter of fact told me, “It’s all about you, isn’t it.” Very simple statement. No condemnation, just revelation. But to say I was pummeled is a major understatement. Now, my wife had told me this very thing for 20 years, but I didn’t really hear it until Jesus spoke it to my heart. I finally got it! It was life-changing (and I DID apologize to my wife!) 🙂

    Good word, Paul! Blessings.

    • I love God’s neutral tone of voice. Not an ounce of badness or guilt-trip. Just that “simple statement”. And like you I can hear that same observation from a number of people. And yet I go into default mode: What’s their agenda?

      God is the only one I know who has no agenda other than perfect unconditional love – and that always allows me to listen without fear of any “incoming” ordinance of the “tit for tat” kind.

      It is life-changing when we each “get it” for ourselves. We are allowed to do the changing for no other reason than we decide.

      (and having written that and checked for errors, I hear a very neutral tone of voice in my ear: “Is that why you get others’ default mode then, Paul?”)

      Hmmmm …

  3. Well said Paul. I enjoyed your post. The words ring true and touch my heart. There are many habits I have as a fallen person thats been redeemed . One that always trips me up is how I sometimes like to think I am here to judge rather than encourage . Its always easy to give a opinion ,that sounds more like judgment. It reminds me of the words Jesus said when he said its foolishness to talk about these things. Kingdom purposes will always be at the top of the list. For me it is enough most of the time to work on me. Then others are sure to get the side Jesus wants them to see. The truth is we are all broken and fallen and when we forget that is when we get in trouble. From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry if I have ever offended anyone on my blog or theirs. For that matter anywhere. I am in a constant state of Lord forgive me. Now if others would. Then they would live free and that would please me much.

    Much Love Tom

    • Tom, thank you – as always – for such honest thinking aloud. Something I do wonder is this –
      If I “lost” the fallen and broken “hashtag” what might I fill the void with? If I found not brokenness but “healedness” what my hashtag become? If I stopped asking for forgiveness for what I didn’t do right – and celebrated what He and I have more and more – what might my words become then?
      I find love to be the answer more and more – from every direction, in every light, under all circumstances, and all the time. Not the commercialised “stuff” – but the love of God Jesus Spirit. That “love”.
      I have been redeemed. And yet I will mess up. Get angry. Go down and up. Say the wrong thing. Do the wrong thing. Be “imperfect”. Which is how I am created. Which is how I have been invited to journey. Which is the me the Lord so loves as only He can.
      And I find more and more that changes me. And that change changes others. Sorry is part of that. And – as you say as well – sorry is a balm not a jail sentence – a healer not a hard labour. If I have no fear, why should I fear that small word “sorry”?
      (and as for offending others on their blogs – I wonder if we could see comments as pebbles in a pool – the ripples are His not ours – both good and “bad”)
      Paul
      ((hugs))

      • That my brother is spot on. The greatest thing we can do is become intercessors for others. That they as well as myself would know God’s great love for us. As you said. Take us deeper Lord. Often I can detect, even though I don’t believe I’m looking blame or judgment in our comments. I try to guard against that myself. I’m not always successful since I’m not very educated with words. I think if I focus more on me, knowing God and being more like him then everyone benefits. Everything under the sun can be rectified through the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pride and self is my biggest enemy. Dying every day to this I pray. I love reading your post Paul. I thank God you are still chasing him.
        Blessings to you my brother

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