Was Elton John wrong?

After a couple of days’ respite, the incessant flow of bloggerel resumes. Sorry about that.

I am sorry if you missed me during my days off. Or I am sorry if you are disappointed that I have started again. Either way, I am sorry.

It's not Elton John, but you get the idea...
It’s not Elton John, but you get the idea…

Elton John sang in 1976, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word…” I am not sure that this is the case. Sorry is a complex word. It only consists of four different letters (‘r’ repeated) but it can mean so much when we say it, and saying it can be really complex. If it trips off our tongue and we don’t mean what we say, it is devalued, trivialised, almost irrelevant. On the other hand, it can be really difficult for us to say it and mean it sometimes, especially if we feel badly hurt ourselves. But I don’t think it is the hardest word. Perhaps the hardest word is what we say in response to ‘sorry’. I think it often costs more to forgive than to ask for forgiveness.

I have been considering all sorts of different analogies for ‘sorry’ (including labrador dogs, cowboys’ revolvers and blowing up a balloon [probably best not to ask!]) but all of them are inadequate. I think that is because ‘sorry’ is unique as a word and as a concept: ‘sorry’ can be liberating for both the forgiver and the forgivee. It can release forgiveness when someone is finding it difficult to do that themselves, and it enables grace to flow when perhaps pride or hurt have hardened hearts. It is the beginning of restored relationships and enables fresh starts.

I know that I regularly have to say ‘sorry’ to God and too often have to say ‘sorry’ to other people. But I hope that I never take it lightly when I say it or when someone says it to me. It is a precious gift to be cherished.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

 

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