Lyrics, poetry, music in general allow us to take things that are difficult to say, and wrap them in ambiguity and emotion. “I’m sorry,” “I hate to leave you,” “Good bye,” can all be made to sound sweet and even longingly nostalgic when set to rhyme and meter. The beat helps to cover up or soften the hurt. It’s one of the places I hide.
When this song started coming to me, that thought came along with it. I wanted to say how much I was sorry for hurts I had caused. But every time I tried to find the right lines they would feel insincere, like I was smoothing over the things I had done and not expressing any real remorse. I kept thinking the artform was getting in my way. But then I started to wonder if my apologizing had more to do with my own pride than any actual remorse. I have done a lot of strange things to hold onto my ego.
“I’m sorry for what I did, I’m in treatment now. I apologize, I’m getting help. I feel so bad about hurting you, but it got me to change.”
Does this really do anything for the people I hurt? It just radiates my own selfishness.
The thing is, sin is always ultimately committed against God. Yes, it has real consequences to those around us. People get hurt, there might be unimaginable disappointments, you may be answerable to authorities. It might tear another person apart. But in the end our guilt is because we have sinned against God. (Quite frankly, if there is no God, then why would I care at all how I treat anyone else, except to benefit from it somehow.)
Because sin is against God, there are no small or insignificant wrongs. Again, the consequences may be different. Telling a lie about why you missed work is less impactful than murdering someone. But they are both sins. Jesus said that harboring anger in your heart is just as bad as murder, and having a lustful thought is just as sinful as committing adultery. What we might think of as a tiny wrongdoing is just as offensive to God as the most horrible deeds we can imagine. In God’s eyes every sin is just as shameful as every other sin because sin is completely opposite to who He is.
No matter how many apologies to others or how hard I try to make up for it, my sin is against God. We are all equal in our failures and sins because it only takes one wrong deed to move away from Him. Only one or one billion, they destroy who we are.