No, You Go First…
We’ve all struggled with it at some point in our lives. We rationalize in our minds in order to come up with excuses to avoid doing it. I’m talking about returning to someone we’ve wronged; apologizing, and asking for their forgiveness. There’s something about apologizing that goes against our prideful nature. Perhaps that’s why parents have to force their children to apologize for something as insignificant as not sharing a toy. In those days your parents would say, “You tell your sister you’re sorry right now!” Apologizing and requesting forgiveness can be one of the most challenging and humbling acts people need to engage in.
This difficulty is not limited to our secular affairs. Quite often in our relationship with God we display this same reluctance in regards to our repentance and supplication. This is particularly true when we’re going through difficult trials. We may angrily shout, “God, why are You doing this to me after all I’ve done to serve You?” Oftentimes, just like when we were children, we cross our arms and turn up our noses, expecting God to make the first move in the reconciliation process. When we engage in this prideful mentality we’re making a grave misjudgment about just who our God is. What we’re expecting God to do is literally impossible for Him. God told His prophet Zechariah, “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts,” (Zechariah 1:3 emph. added). Here we learn that it is quite impossible for God to return to us, if we don’t first humble ourselves in repentance to Him.
Since we understand that it’s our responsibility to restore the ties that we break with God, it’s of utmost importance that we recognize our own pride as perhaps the worst obstacle to our salvation. If we are able to keep this perspective, we’d be willing to go to the ends of the earth to bring God back into our lives. All of a sudden simply coming to Him in repentance and prayer seems extremely doable, and thanks be to God that’s all He asks from us. Knowing that God cannot return to you unless you return fully to Him, doesn’t that make your personal repentance the highest priority in your life?