Shout out to Elizabeth for suggesting the blog topic this week 😉
In truth, I often forget when it’s my turn to write a blog and rely on Elizabeth to remind me. Two weeks ago, when I was preparing to go on vacation, I had to ask Steven to cover for me. Mistakes were made. Apologies were in order. We’re all still friends (I think).
It got me thinking about something that came up in a teaching session with the students recently. I’m currently calling attention back to the sermon topic on Wednesday nights and diving into specific application for teenagers. I really enjoyed going through the Sermon on the Mount and talking about ways they were called to “swim upstream” in the culture. Our students really are on the cutting edge of an ever-changing cultural landscape, and while this can be treacherous, it also provides plenty of opportunities to stand out. And we all know how much teenagers LOVE to stand out.
Challenging and uncomfortable as it may be, I tried to make that case that striking a different chord is really the best path to everything they’re already chasing. Impact. Influence. Success. Significance. “Fortune favors the bold” as the adage goes. Some will reject you, even hate you, but others will be drawn to the light, inspired by the pop of color that the kingdom of God can be in our dark, depressing world.
So what does all of this have to do with my absent-minded blogging habits? Well, one of the first counter-cultural values that Jesus teaches is humility. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he says (Matt. 5:3). And as I tried to translate this into something Gen-Z could wrap their hands around, I thought about the simple act of admitting that you were wrong, and saying “I’m sorry.” It struck me how rare this has become in our day-to-day vernacular. To realize, after the fact, that you did or said something you shouldn’t have, approach the person you wronged (or even just send them a text), and ask for their forgiveness is way harder than it should be, and we don’t do it enough.
We live in a world of pride. A world of face-saving, chest-puffing, never-show-weakness playing of the never-ending game. Nothing cuts right to the heart of the matter more than admitting your flaws in front of others. It’s why, 10 years in, it is still difficult to do this with my wife. The person I love most in all the world and who knows me better than anyone. To approach her and apologize for a harsh word I spoke earlier that day… everything in me screams to just let it lie. But in that distance I create, sin festers, and our relationship suffers.
May the church of Jesus be those who are known for saying “I’m sorry.” Would we be recognized as those who have no need to projected a tailored image because we have been made in God’s image. He sees our flaws, loves us the same and that’s more than enough for us. I think, among many, this is one way we can begin to be salt and light in the culture around us and give people a taste of a better world.