7 Words We Say to God (and each other)

Derek Webb wrote a new song in which he expresses that over his musical career he’s tried to say three basic things:  “I was wrong, I’m sorry, and I love you.” I brought these together with words Anne LaMott (great memoirist and novelist) and Nicky Gumbel (Alpha.org) say we can express to God. I then stayed in one Bible text and sewed these together with powerful words from 1 John.

  1. I was wrong. We have a hard time saying we’re wrong, much like the tough time the Fonz had years ago, illustrated in the featured image. I agree with Wade Hodges who said he’s wrong ten percent of the time. And that’s not the problem. The problem is, he doesn’t know which ten percent. God doesn’t expect perfection. He expects an admission that we are much less than perfect. Check out what John says:  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 NIV)
  2. I’m Sorry. There’s a line from the old movie, “Love Story” that really seemed to stick for some people. “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” What? Not in any loving relationship I’ve ever been in. Some people say sorry too much. Some don’t say it enough. In some areas of our work and life we are even afraid to say it. I heard this TED Radio Hour piece about making mistakes, and there’s a powerful piece about a doctor who is saying we need a new medical culture where we are not afraid to admit mistakes. Saying “I’m sorry” to God is what we call repentance. It’s sorrow for what you’ve done that moves you to turn around, go toward God. Here’s what John says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)
  3. I love you. There’s this silly old yarn where a wife asks her husband why he never says, “I love you.” He replies, “Darlin’, I tol’ you I loved ya when I mar’d ya, and if that changes, I’ll let you know.” Funny, huh? Well, what about us and God. How long has it been since you told God, “I love you”? Since we got “married” to Him in our conversion experience? Do you regularly express to God that you love Him? Here’s what John says about the love God has for us, and He made us for a reciprocal relationship. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 NIV) 
  4. Please. I’ll do another post on this story alone, but here’s the short version. I saw a man in a wheelchair on the road near our church. I stopped, took a photo of him in the road (with his permission). Why was he in the road. No sidewalks. He was in front of one of the biggest banks and biggest restaurants in the country. No sidewalks. I wrote the city, asking them to put in sidewalks, and I cc’d those two businesses. The city wrote me back, said they’d elevate it to the ADA department, then engineering, then roads crew. The sidewalks went in this week. All I did was see someone in need and ask the powers that could do something about it. How are we with our eyes and asking when it comes to the things God can do something about? You do not have because you do not ask. Here’s what John says: This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:13-15 NIV)
  5. Thank you. Gratitude may well be one of the most undervalued ideas in a rich country like the United States. We have a national holiday for thankfulness, but we probably complain too much, mostly because we’re not being grateful enough. When we’re looking for what to be grateful about, thanking people for what they do, who they are, thanking God for what He’s done in our lives, Who He is, then we have little time to complain. Here’s what John says. God gave us LIFE: And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11 NIV)
  6. Help. Anne LaMott is one of the most honest writers. She’s vulnerable in ways few Christians are, and she writes about it. About vulnerability, Brené Brown reveals in the same TED Radio Hour mentioned above, how to enter into vulnerability and live whole-heartedly. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 NIV)
  7. Wow. I remember my mother often expressing the beauty in a sunset or the juice dripping down her arm from a good watermelon and saying, “God made good things.” This sense of wonder and awe is important, and we should never take for granted how important this is. Our culture suffers with a sense of un-wow living. We are hard to impress because we think we’re powerful with all the gadgets and props that keep us believing we are in control. Listen to how John frames life: What which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. (1 John 1:1-4 NIV)
%d bloggers like this: