“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” In 2005, the American Film Institute voted those words the 13th most memorable movie quote of all-time. From the 1970 movie “Love Story,” the line has become a part of the English vernacular.
The band, Sounds of Sunshine, used it as the title of their 1971 hit song. Variations of the words have been spoken in numerous films and TV shows. They can even be heard on a 2004 episode of “The Simpsons”, to which Lisa Simpson angrily retorted, “No, it doesn’t.”
Lisa was right.
This Wednesday, two seemingly contrasting holidays fall on the same day: Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance. Ash Wednesday is all about humility and repentance. One is secular; the other sacred.
Yet, the two are tied together by one narrow thread: Love means saying you’re sorry.
In our relationships here on earth, love leads us to not let those words go unspoken. A wise old marriage counselor once told me that the two most important words spoken in any relationship are, “I’m sorry.” He added that the three most important words are, “I forgive you.”
The same is true in our relationship with God. Love means saying we are sorry.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. During the six weeks of Lent, we solemnly follow Jesus on his road to the cross.
We begin that journey on Ash Wednesday by recognizing it is our sins which nailed him to that cross. It is our fault he died. It is our guilt he carries.
Yet Ash Wednesday isn’t about beating ourselves up. The point of Ash Wednesday isn’t to punish us for causing him pain. The point of Ash Wednesday is that we are forgiven.
Ash Wednesday is about repentance. We tell our God we are sorry for our lying lips and wandering eyes. We tell him we are sorry for our hurtful words and lack of love. We kneel before God and simply say we are sorry.
And yet we do so with love and confidence in our hearts. You see, Jesus walked that road to the cross willingly. His life wasn’t taken from him. He gave it up freely. His love for us drove him to suffer our punishment and die our death.
His love leads us to openly admit what we’ve done. His love leads us to trust in his forgiveness. His love leads us to turn away from those sins and now live for him.
Simply put, love means saying you’re sorry.
So, this Wednesday, go ahead and take your wife or girlfriend out for dinner. Give her flowers or a necklace. It’s Valentine’s Day.
Just don’t forget it’s also Ash Wednesday. Make the time to go to church – to quietly go to God and tell him you’re sorry for what you’ve done.
Tell God you’re sorry with the confidence that he has and will always forgive you because of Jesus. Tell God you’re sorry trusting in his love for you. Tell God you’re sorry because you love him.
Love means saying you’re sorry.