My first grade teacher wasn't the first person to say it, but she's the first I remember. She said it after what would later become my go-to phrase flowed from my lips: "I'm so sorry!"
"You don't always have to say sorry," she muttered as she turned her back to me.
To which, of course, I replied, "Oh, I'm sorry."
What was my first-rate first grade crime? I had somehow accidentally managed to dip my left pigtail in the craft-time glue.
Why did I apologize then? Why do I still sometimes apologize over tiny mistakes? Is it because I house the pious soul of someone who happily atones for her transgressions? Hardly.
My squeaky first-grade apology sprang out of a foundation of fear. I was worried that I might be rejected for making a mistake. It's the same fear that compels the adult me to apologize for spilling a splash of water on the floor or stumbling over my words during conversation.
Sure, apologizing for little mistakes sometimes feels natural. But other times, for me, these kinds of "sorry"s flow from a place of worry and anxiety.
Do you ever apologize out of fear and worry? Are your "sorry"s sometimes rooted in a desire to avoid rejection?
I've come a long way from my first-grade self. But when I catch myself still saying "sorry" because I fear rejection, I try to remember that God accepts me. He loves me no matter what and will never reject me. My greatest hope does not come from other people's acceptance of me, and I don't have to be perfect to be loved. If you're struggling with fear-sprung "sorry"s today, I encourage you to rest in the knowledge of God's love for you as you dig into these four Bible verses with me:
Psalm 86:15 (GNTD)
But you, O Lord, are a merciful and loving God, always patient, always kind and faithful.
Psalm 147:7, 10-11 (GNTD)
Sing hymns of praise to the Lord; play music on the harp to our God…he takes pleasure in those who honor him, in those who trust in his constant love.
Romans 5:1-2, 8 (GNTD)
Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory…God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!
Romans 8:38-39 (GNTD)
For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
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