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by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

Two young boys were outside playing together. As sometimes happens, things turned bad.

The smaller, younger boy had had enough, and left. A while later, the older boy found him sitting alone under a tree. He said, “I’m sorry. Come back.” The younger boy asked, “What kind of sorry? The kind so you don’t do it again?”

I like that kind of “sorry.” But it’s also the hardest kind! It’s hard because it demands that we look at patterns of behavior. It even demands that we examine the way our personalities are wired. Even more difficult than that, this kind of “sorry” demands that we change.

There’s a Bible-word for that: repentance. Repentance means to “turn around and go the other way.” It means to have a change of mind, a change of heart. This sometimes demands hard work.

Such work is the way of God. Thanks be to God, we don’t have to do the work all by ourselves! God has provided communities of faith for us, places for strength, encouragement, affirmation, repentance. God also provides instruction in many places, words of wisdom, stories about life, music and poetry for inspiration, prayers to experience God’s presence.

God provides food for our souls, feeding us spiritually, since we can’t rely on our own strength. Truth is, our own strength is never enough.

Imagine this conversation, “Dear God, I’m sorry I haven’t been praying. I’m sorry I haven’t been going to church. I’m sorry I haven’t set aside quality time for you.” And God asks, “What kind of sorry? The kind so you don’t do it again?”

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