It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do if you don’t say you’re sorry and change. 

Luke 13: 1-9 1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” 6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ” 

Is it just me or am I sensing a “tone” here in Jesus’s teaching? I’m getting a definite vibe that he’s had about enough of the nitpicking and splitting of hairs that I’m guessing he has been asked to do over and over again. If you think I’m wrong, just take a look at the exclamation points above. Now, I realize these may have been added by a well-meaning interpreter but if Jesus got a little miffed, could you blame him? Sometimes it seems like all we do is search for gray areas, places where we and we alone can be an exception, a circumstance which exempts us from what the teacher says is the measuring stick. In this case it’s clear, stop comparing and repent.

I don’t count myself as unique when I say sometimes it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry. The process where we say, “Look, I fouled up. I was wrong. Please forgive me” isn’t always an easy one. We don’t want to make that admission do we? We don’t want to look bad. We don’t want to throw ourselves at the mercy of another person. Is it any wonder that public figures, athletes and the like issue “statements” which explain but never out and out say “My bad.”? Their attempts are the stuff of internet derision but are they that much different than us? If they are, then when we say we’re sorry, do we mean it? Based on the parable, it looks pretty important.

Produce fruit or suffer the axe. Pretty harsh, huh? I think Jesus was trying to make a point once and for all. Stop trying to bend the rules. Forget finding some reason or scapegoat or victim mentality to hang your hat on for crying out loud. Say you’re sorry. Your God, the one who tends you, who nurtures your growth is full of grace. He has the power and the will to forgive you but you have to repent and bear fruit. So do it now. Otherwise, you may not get another chance.

The Everyday Question: Do you believe in “one more chance”? If you do, then when do you pick up the axe? I’m interested to know where you stand on this.

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