When we have rocked a person to the core…..when we have hurt them down to the cellular level…..when we have violently shaken them to pieces…..it should cost us something more than a simple, and sometimes flippant, “I’m sorry.”
King David understood this well.
When he sinned against God in 2 Samuel 24, Scripture states, “David’s heart condemned him” (v. 10). He had taken a census of his army, but he had no right to do it. The army did not belong to David, and God had provided all he needed to be victorious in battle. In ordering Joab to count the number of men, David sinned against God. His actions revealed the pride in his heart. When he realized his sin, he asked God for forgiveness.
God gave him three choices as a consequence for his sin, but David asked God to choose his consequence for him. God did: a plague that killed 70,000 men from the regions of Dan to Beersheba. When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, God told the angel, “Enough” (v. 16). David asked God for mercy, and God gave him a reprieve.
The prophet Gad told David to “erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah” (v. 18), so that the plague would be withdrawn. When king David told Araunah the Jebusite that he needed to build an altar to the LORD so the plague would cease, Araunah offered to give him free of charge everything he needed (i.e., the oxen for sacrifice, threshing implements, etc.). David refused the free offer, saying to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing” (v. 24).
David realized the gravity of his sin. The payment for a great sin is a great price.
We sinned against God, but Jesus alone paid the price. As we look forward to Christ’s sacrificial atonement on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, let us remember that His death at Calvary should move us to live sacrificially (Rom. 12:1). David sacrificed his own resources, because God had been gracious and merciful to him. In like manner, He is gracious and merciful to us still.
If we can offer a flippant apology to those we have hurt, the offense has meant nothing to us. And the relationship may be destroyed.
The offense should cost us something.
The gravity of the sin should be felt. This is true when we hurt others; this is especially true when we sin against God.