Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of His miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. Matthew 11:20
My kids are great at apologizing. “I’m sorry,” rolls off their tongue effortlessly, along with hugging me and saying they love me. I think it’s great they can admit they’re wrong, and use the words to say so. But it just isn’t enough.
What good does it do them, or me, if the only action that accompanies their words is hugging me? Of course, it strengthens our bond and makes us both feel better. But it’s not a step in preventing the mistake from happening again.
In fact, after the 100th “I’m sorry,” and I-love-you hug for the same exact action, the words feel pretty cheap. Anyone can say them. If there’s no behavior correction behind them, I know I can expect the same mistake, and the 101st apology, to soon follow.
Jesus went from town to town performing miracles as He taught about His Father’s love. You would think the townspeople would be so amazed by the life-altering miracles, they’d want to step it up: admit the mistakes of their past, ask for forgiveness, and make the needed changes to become better people. Instead, based on Matthew 11, it sounds like they wanted the easy miracle without doing any of the hard work.
And there’s the connection: My kids, and a great number of us, want the easy route. A word of apology here, a hug there, and we’re back to our old ways again. Self-introspection and a sincere effort to change our bad behavior sounds like too much work.
The thing is: The path to Heaven is not paved with quick apologies and empty actions. God sees directly into our hearts and knows whether we’re trying or not. Like me with my kids, I don’t think He demands perfection. But He does want to see us do the best we can to do the right thing, no matter how hard the effort may be.
Questions for Reflection:
* When my kids make a mistake, do I see them try harder the next time?
* When I make a mistake, does God see me try harder the next time?