“I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, and I Love You”
Why are those words so hard for Christians to say?

"I've cared too much and not enough in the same breath."

- Derek Webb, "I Was Wrong, I'm Sorry, and I Love You."

In high school one of my closest friends went to a Baptist church. It was the type of Baptist church where playing an electric guitar would be stirring things up. Around the time we became good friends, I began to connect with a charismatic church. People worshiped loudly, prayed passionately, danced wildly, cried unashamedly, prayed for the sick and talked openly about the supernatural. I was captured.

In my infinite wisdom I shared almost every detail of my new worship experiences with my Baptist friend. As you can imagine, we had some pretty big differences of opinion. Unsurprisingly, often my times of story-telling became theological arguments. I walked away from many of those arguments feeling like I'd won.

I've been around Christianity and the church for my entire life. My parents were missionaries, most of my family is Christian, and I currently attend a Christian college. I'm still pretty young, but old enough to pick up on a few patterns. And I don't think that my smug attitude at scoring truth-points was unique.

I've recently been working as part of the launch team for Derek Webb's new record (shameless plug, I know…). As I've listened to the upcoming album, its central theme of reconciliation haunts me. I have to wonder: why do Christians have such a hard time saying "sorry"? In a faith founded on confession and repentance, where did we go wrong?

After high school I realized what a pompous jerk I had been. I called my friend to apologize. As we were talking, we both confessed that we had had a mindset of ‘I can't let this other person be right!' Our conversation helped heal our friendship, and our mutual apologies cleared up murky waters.

Webb's line captures what had happened with my friend and I perfectly: "I've cared too much and not enough in the same breath." I've seen that too many times in the church and in myself. We're to be known by our love, but too often we're known by our t-shirts, statements of faith, and church affiliations. We follow a God who reconciled us to himself despite our differences and yet we often refuse to welcome others in the same spirit of grace that Christ has welcomed us.

I'm not downplaying the need for strong opinions of theology and practice. It's essential that we have healthy beliefs about God, ourselves, and others. But can we truly welcome others as long as we place the desire to be right before our love for them?

July 30, 2013

Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments

Sam S

November 04, 2013  3:49pm

Humility is something we strive for, not something we achieve. In America we thrive on competition. We make a lot of things an "us" verses "them" fight. We do it in war, in sports, in our schools, in our states, in our politics, and even in our churches. Tribalism does hurt the body. We don't need to throw everything different between our churches away, but we do need to start painting a bigger picture of the Church body. It doesn't just exist in our small town, or in our denomination. It exists globally. Let us stop shooting our wounded and start caring for our broken.

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September 09, 2013  7:26pm

But Jeremy Bowen usually tells us that Hamas doesn't have cootrnl over all these factions and that they're generally innocent here. Can't be helped, and Israel should accept it, and lie back and take it.The military plan doesn't seem to be much more than getting Israel to attack more and more, because Hamas and their friends in the Muslim Brotherhood know how easy it is, and know that most of the world will support them in a war if the MB takes over Israel. The BBC's reporting is already skewed to that angle.I personally don't think the Egyptian generals are so eager to get their asses kicked, but the death cultists aren't thinking about that right now. 0 likes

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July 30, 2013  10:39pm

Thank you, Daniel, for showing us how youth can also lead the way. "I was wrong. I'm sorry. I love you." These are three of the most difficult sentences in the world for me to say sometimes (the last especially in the immediate context of the first two). I admit this to my shame.

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