Andy Stanley - Intent Doesn't Remove the Dent
So when our oldest son, who is now 30, was seven years old, this true story 'cause I'm in church so I wouldn't make this up, when he was seven years old, our standard babysitter, you know how have like the go-to babysitter that, you know, she's there, you know, she's usually a woman, you know, that's there all the time. This young lady was our standard go-to babysitter, and one afternoon she ran over his arm with her Honda Accord in our driveway, right over his arm. I know, that was the proper response. Earlier when I shared that story, it was just, like, quiet. I'm like, "The proper response is, is," yeah, anyway. So she ran over his arm in our driveways, we were all running out there, you know, and the good, the silver lining is from that moment on, Andrew had the upper hand in the relationship.
It's very difficult to say no to a child when you ran over his arm in his own driveway with your Honda Accord. You know, "Andrew, it's time to go upstairs and get ready for bed". "I don't think so. Remember when you ran over my arm with your Honda Accord? I'll take a root beer on crushed ice, please, you know". Now Melissa, the babysitter, was horrified as you can imagine, but as it turns out, it was an accident. She didn't mean to run over his arm, she didn't do it on purpose. So when we found out, you know, we were home, you know, she was leaving actually 'cause we'd just gotten home so he was leaving, it was in daytime. When we, you know, found out that it was an accident, that she didn't mean to, we didn't see any reason to take Andrew to the ER because, well, it was an accident. I mean, which meant he was fine, right? And I said, "Andrew, stop crying. She didn't mean to do it, stop crying, it was an accident".
Besides, he had on Under Armour sweatshirt. I kept saying, "You've got on Under Armour sweatshirt. I mean, you're fine and it was an accident". Actually, we did take Andrew to the ER as you would imagine. Some of you're like, "What"? Yeah, we did take hi to the ER because, and this is what we're gonna talk about for the next few minutes so buckle up, because there is no necessary correlation between intent and outcome. I almost put, there's no correlation, but there, we'll give you a little wiggle room, there's no necessary correlation between intent and outcome. So if you came for something deep today, that's it. Hey, we're in part three of a series. If you've not been tracking along with us, you're coming in on the end of the movie, but that's okay.
If you've been tracking along with us, part three of our series entitled The Weight of Your Words. And if you've ever been crushed by someone's words, you understand what we're talking about because we have all been injured or crushed in some cases by the words of other people. Words carry weight, words leave a mark, words leave a mark for good, words leave a mark potentially for bad, words build or destroy, they discourage, they discourage, they inspire, sometimes words wound, and our lives, mine included, we have all been shaped to some extent by the words spoken to us, the word spoken at us, the words spoken over us, and the words spoken about us, right? Our lives have been shaped by the words that people said about us.
And the other thing that's interesting, we talked about this in the first installment of this series, our lives, in some cases have been shaped by words we didn't hear, that we wanted to hear, that we needed to hear, but that we never heard. Phrases like this, "Mommy loves you, I'm so proud of you. Don't worry, son, I'll always have your back". And the tension in this whole series is this, none of us doubt that our lives have been impacted by the words that people have spoken to us and over us, and at us and about us, we get that, we know how other people's words have affected us, we recognize how people's words have affected us. Well, but in spite of that, we are often slow to take responsibility for our words and the weight of our words when it comes to how our words impact other people. And that should bother all of us.
I mean, this isn't like a Christian thing or a religious thing, we should all, you know, take responsibility for the weight of our words and how our words impact other people. But if you're a Jesus follower and if you're a Christian, this isn't an add-on, this isn't be a good citizen, this isn't a nice to have, this is baked into the equation, this is baked into what it means to be a follower of Jesus, that we are commanded because of the Jesus, you know, overarching command to love as God through Christ has loved us, you know, baked into or folded into that command, we are responsible to be good stewards of how our words and the weight of our words land with other people. Because we've been called to be others' first people, we are one another people, we are others' first people. And our words and our tone and our approach to our words and our tone should reflect that. So this isn't an add-on, this is actually part of what it means to follow Jesus as practical as this may sound.
Now, one second, for those of you who are not Christians or you're not a Jesus follower, here's what I would guess, my hunch is that you would be more curious, that you would be more curious about faith and about Christianity if the Christians around you, had been more gracious with their words, you would be more curious and more open to Christianity if the Christians that you know had been more gracious about the words they used about the people you love and the people that are closest to you. So it could be that our words and the weight of our words are insensitive words in our tone, may be one of the things that drove you away from your Heavenly Father and from your savior. And I just wanna say one more thing about that, Jesus actually reserved his harshest criticism for religious leaders who were not careful and good stewards of their words toward the people they were responsible for.
And I hope perhaps that you would find it in your heart, that will pass some of us, or maybe pass some of the Christians that you've had contact with to our savior who has called us to leverage our words in such a way that people walk away from every conversation. Because the apostle Paul will, I'm gonna read this to you at the very end, the Apostle Paul reminded us that every conversation is a construction zone, and we are either building or we are tearing down with our words and we are responsible for how our words land for the weight of our words in the lives of other people. So in this series, what we've done is we're unpacking three dynamics that are at play in every single conversation you have, I would say in most conversations that you have. And they're at play whether you recognize it or not, and these three dynamics determine what people hear regardless of what we say and how our words land with them regardless of our intent or regardless of what we mean.
And the interesting thing is, and this is the dilemma, this is kind of the hypocrisy of this whole series, is we've all been on the receiving end of all three of these dynamics positively and negatively, which means, we should be so dialed into this that we should get these right every single time, and still we don't. So the first one we talked about, and the first part of this series was this, that words aren't equally weighted, that some words way more than others, and that negatives way, way outweigh the positives, and the ratio of our words is important if we want people to hear what we're actually saying.
Number two, the second part of the series, we talked about source determines weight. The source of a word determines the weight of a word, who said it determines the impact of it, who said it determines the impact of it. And the takeaway was this, we said that when we're in conversations, we need to remember who we are and what we represent to the person on the other side of us. We should always take into consideration who you are, you should always take into consideration who you are and what you represent to the person on the other side of you. Because even though you are in a relationship with them, chances are, it's not the same relationship. There's almost always an inequity, and because of that, we should be cautious with our words and use the weight of our words in such a way that they leave a good memory, they build rather than destroy. So today we're gonna talk about this third one, it's a little bit more difficult and challenging to explain so I'm gonna try to give you some, lots of illustrations and then one application at the very end.
Number three is simply this, that intent is usually irrelevant. That intent, the intent of our words oftentimes or is usually irrelevant, because, going back to the big idea introduced a few minutes ago, there is no necessary correlation when it comes to a lot of things, but especially our words. There's no necessary correlation between what we intended and the outcome of what we said. Now in the physical world, this is so obvious we don't even need to talk about it. I mean, if you've ever accidentally broken a window, if you've ever accidentally broken your husband's favorite MLB bobblehead, if you ever were visiting at your mother-in-law's house and you broke one of her collector item plates, you get this, right?
In every case, this is an accident, these were accidents, but the windows still has to be replaced, the bobblehead still has to be glued back together, and the collector plate, well, you have to go online and try to find that exact plate to match the other plates, and, you know, it's just, you know, generally an endeavor of futility. But still, it doesn't matter the fact that it's broken there's something you have to do. And here's the other thing, when it comes to physical objects and items, this is so obvious, again, it hardly needs to be stated, but when it comes to our words, it's easy to miss. An explanation or explaining does not equal repairing, explaining doesn't equal repairing.
We know this with physical objects, explaining what happened in that it was an accident does not equate to repairing anything. In fact, in some cases with our words as we're gonna see, an explanation is actually irritating. When it comes to hurtful words, an explanation is oftentimes irritating, not only does it not fix anything, it actually makes things worse. Because this is the best way to understand all of this, when we're on the receiving end of hurtful words, accidental, hurtful words, and the offender begins explaining what they really meant, it's irritating and it's irrelevant, because in those moments, we don't need an explanation, in those moments when we've been hurt by someone's words, we don't need an explanation, we need to be glued back together, and an explanation doesn't glue us back together.
And again, you know, just thinking of this, when we're on the receiving end, when somebody hurts us with their words, I mean, we've all been there, and they wonder why we're still upset, I mean, they've just given us an explanation and we're still upset after their explanation, nothing could be more insensitive than that, right? It's like the explaining doesn't do anything and they look at us like, "What's wrong with you"? But the crazy thing is, when I hurt someone with my words, or you hurt someone with your words, we forget all of that and we retreat to the very thing we don't want the person who hurt us to retreat to, we immediately retreat to intent. "Whoa, whoa, I didn't mean it that way, I didn't mean it that way". That's not glue, nobody's put back together with that, right? "That didn't come out right, wait, wait, let me back up". No, you can't back up, that didn't come out right. "I was just, I was trying to be funny, why are you crying? I was trying, everybody's upset, why? I was just trying to be funny. It wasn't my intent to hurt you".
Now this is so important. Do you know what that statement and the other three statements and statements like them, do you know what these kinds of statements, and we've all said 'em, do you know what those statements communicate? And you don't do it on purpose, none of us do, they actually communicate blame. We are blaming the person we hurt for taking what we said the way they took it. I'm blaming the person I hurt with my words for taking my words the way that they took them. If they had not taken my words the way they took them, their feelings wouldn't be hurt, they wouldn't be so upset. So actually it's not even my fault, it's actually their fault, they were wrong to interpret my words the way they did. It's their fault they got their feelings hurt, they should be more mature, they should be tougher, they should be more professional, they should be smarter.
And again, in those moments, when we begin explaining our intent, our goal, our intent is not to blame, we're just explaining. But explaining sounds like blaming, explaining feels like blaming, and you know that and I know that because we've been on the receiving end of that and they're talking, talking, talking, talking, trying to explain, explain, explain and they think they're gluing us back together and they're just making it worse, right? Because when someone, or let's just say, we, when we combine an explanation with our apology, not only does the other person feel blamed, they actually feel something else as well.
Again, we felt this, they also feel pressure, they feel an expectation. "Since I've explained myself, I expect you to feel better now". And then when our apology and our explanation doesn't work like a magic wand, now you're back in Kansas now, and tu, tu, tu, I mean, suddenly, I'm supposed to suddenly be transformed and transported back to some moment before where everything's fine, when it doesn't work like a magic wand or a Jedi mind trick and they're still angry and withdrawn and upset and we've already apologized and given our explanation, then do you know what we do? We press harder. "I said, I'm sorry, I said I'm sorry". Implication, "Why aren't you fine now? I expect you to be fine now that I've explained, why aren't we fine now"? This is the implication, "Why aren't we back to where we were before I said what I said"? Ultimately, "This is your fault, I have done my part to get us back to where we were and you're not back there yet, so hey, I'll wait on you. I've done all I can do".
We've been on the receiving end and we hate it, we dish it out and we miss it. This is a big deal. And the reason they're not better is this, again, bring this back into the physical world, this all makes perfect sense. For the same reason that my apology for closing my car door on your fingers doesn't automatically transport you back to your pre-crushed fingers condition. Because, don't miss this, apologies, apologies don't reverse and erase accidental injuries to the body, apologies don't reverse and erase accidental injuries to the soul when words are the damaging tool, when words have been used to hurt. They don't reverse and erase accidental injuries to the heart, to the relationship, to the security of the relationship, or to the confidence the other person has in us. An apology combined with an explanation sounds like an excuse, it sounds like another attempt to simply shift the blame.
Now, this isn't always the case, but in some cases, word damage is way worse than physical damage. You see, if you slam my hand in your car door, I'm ninety nine and a half percent sure that was an accident. I'm just gonna, I mean I immediately assume you didn't mean to do that. But I'm not so convinced you didn't mean what you just said. In fact, you meant something by that. And you may not have intended for those words to come out, but they came out and you may not have intended for those words to come out the way they did, but they came out, which means they were in there, and why shouldn't I assume they're still in there? I am, I'm not convinced I didn't just learn something about the way that you view and value me. It's a big deal. Let me tell you how big a deal it is, this is amazing. James, the brother of Jesus said something that is amazing.
Now, I gotta kinda step outta the sermon for a minute and just say something. And I always do this, so pardon me if you've heard this before, but I can't get over this James. James, the brother of Jesus, this is a guy that grew up with Jesus. Did you know in your English New Testament you have a document that's written in the first century by the brother of Jesus? You can just download a Bible app and you can turn to James. Forget What do you think about the Bible for just a moment, okay? You have the privilege and the opportunity of reading words somebody who grew up in the household of Jesus, who knew Mary, who knew all the players, wrote something. I just think that's amazing. I think regardless of what you think about Christianity, regardless of what you think about faith, to have the opportunity to read something written by James in the first century, I just think that's amazing.
And here's perhaps the most amazing thing, when James was martyred outside the walls and the gates of Jerusalem, he was stoned to death by the religious leaders because the governor had left, the Roman governor had left, and the religious leaders were like, "Now we can get him, there's no authority to get us in trouble". They dragged James outside the walls and Jerusalem. This isn't in the book, in the Bible 'cause it happened right after the Book of Acts, and Josephus records this for us, the Jewish historian, talks about James the just being dragged outside the gates of Jerusalem being stoned to death. And this is amazing, when James, the brother of Jesus breathed his last breath, he believed his brother was his Lord.
Again, I've asked you this before, what would it take for your brother to convince you that He's the Son of God? James, the brother of Jesus believed his flesh and blood brother was the son of God, God's messiah, God's final king, his personal Lord, that's amazing. I mean, I don't know of any other evidence to the fact that Jesus is who He claimed to be that's better than the fact that his brother came to that same conclusion while he was alive and while Jesus was alive as well, that's amazing. Okay, I had to kind of get that out. Okay, so here's what James writes in this amazing first century document that got included in the New Testament in our Bible. He says this, and here's something else about this, if you generally think, "I don't believe the Bible," you're gonna believe this part, all right?
Listen to this, "We all stumble in many ways". Any exceptions in the room? Yeah, exactly. He says, "We all screw up in many ways, we all mess up in many ways". I mean, there's all kind of stuff we do wrong, "But anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect". Here's what he means by that. He means, if you can control your mouth, you have arrived, everything else is easy compared to that, he said, "This is the epitome of maturity, this is the highest standard you can attain to". "If you can ever get control of your mouth," James is like, "You are golden, you are a mature person". Because there's nothing more difficult to tame, he's gonna tell us than the tongue, our mouth, the words that we use. In other words, mouth control, some of you need to put this on your refrigerator somewhere, Mouth control is the ultimate self-control, mouth control is the ultimate self-control.
Listen, this is amazing, you may be, you know, no matter how much you weigh, no matter how strong you are, your mouth has the potential to inflict damage on every single person you know, your mouth has the potential to inflict damage in the lives of strangers. And the closer you are to someone, you know this, the more power you have to inflict damage on them. I mean, your mouth and my mouth is our greatest weapon, it is also our greatest potential to build other people up. And James says, "if you can get control of that thing, whoo, you're golden, you're good to go". Because mouth control is the ultimate and self-control. Then he says this, gives us a word picture that we can all relate to because of the last 10 or 12 years of what we've seen out on the west coast and some other places in the United States, "Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark".
That used to be something we would have to imagine, but over the last 10 or 12 years, we've seen what a campfire that's left unattended can do to tens of thousands of acres and neighborhoods, and lives that have been threatened and lost, and property damage, that counts up into the billions of dollars. Because of a single spark, one act of irresponsibility, or just some freak of nature that starts a fire in a forest. He says, "One single spark has the potential to burn down an entire forest, lay an entire forest to waste, one single spark". So, "Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark".
Your mouth, if I can personalize this, is a fire, your mouth is a spark. My words, your words have the potential to be the spark that burns down a relationship, that burns down a marriage, that burns down a life, that burns down a child, that burns down somebody's self-esteem, someone's confidence. And we know that because we've had other people's fire inflicted on us. The real danger of a fire is that it spreads, that it spreads quickly, it's not isolated. Starts small, doesn't stay small, a few words have the potential to create a great deal of harm.
Now, there are two things you do with an unintended fire, unintentional fire, two things. You can either try to contain it or you can extinguish it. When it comes to the fires we start in other people's lives with our words, our natural inclination is to attempt to contain it. That's why we explain it. Explaining is not containing, we think it is, explaining actually spreads the fire. And you know this, because somebody's hurt you with their words and when they circle back around and try to explain, it does not help, it irritates you, it reminds you they don't even understand the damage they've done. When he or she begins explaining the hurtful words that, you know, they inflicted on you, right, it just makes things worse, fire spreads. Explaining, again, is actually an admission that we don't really understand the damage we've caused with our words and it makes it worse.
So don't explain in an attempt to contain, that only increases the pain, don't explain in an attempt to contain, that only ramps up and increases the pain, that's just not the way forward. The goal, the goal for all of us as human beings, but the goal for those of us who are Jesus followers is to extinguish it, to put it out. And word fires are extinguished with two things, and neither come natural, and for some of us it's even harder than other people. Word fires, like any kind of relational conflict are extinguished with a big dose of humility. Humility means, I'm going to submit myself to you, humility means, I'm going to put you and your interest and your wellbeing ahead of my own, even if it costs me. Humility is placing oneself under, making oneself available to someone else is taking full responsibility, humility and sensitivity. Insensitive words require sensitivity to empower a person to move beyond the insensitivity. And explaining is insensitive, that's why it makes it worse.
So we need humility and we need sensitivity. That's how you begin to extinguish the fire. Think about it this way, an explanation elevates me, humility elevates the other person. An explanation elevates me, how does it elevate me? Because my explanation is I wanna be understood, I don't want you to misjudge me, I want you to understand where I was coming from, I, I, I, I want you to know my real intent. It's suddenly it's all about me, I've hurt you, I've taken something from you, and now I want you to understand me? 'Cause when you think of it that way, doesn't make any sense, but it's just where we go unless we can remember James' words and unless we can remember the weight of our words. Because you not understanding me after I've hurt you is completely irrelevant, and trying to get you to understand it is extraordinarily insensitive.
So I'm gonna give you an application, you don't need to write this down because you'll remember it. What does it look like and what does it sound like to extinguish a word fire? Here's the answer to that question, you ready? It sounds like this, "I'm so sorry". And then here's the the most important part. Stop talking because anything you say after that sounds like an excuse. "I am so sorry". So we're gonna practice this because some of you've never done that, you have never ever put a period at the end of an apology because it was important for you to be understood because you still think you're the most important person in the conversation. And look, me too. So let's practice this out loud, ready? Altogether, "I'm so sorry". Don't laugh, sh, sh. One more time, we gotta be real quiet, ready? If you're watching at home, play along, if you're driving, play along. Here we go, ready? "I'm so sorry".
It's uncomfortable, it's an invitation, you're creating space. If you have to say something else, rinse and repeat. "I'm so sorry, there's no excuse for what I said, you do not deserve that, I'm so sorry". And then you sit in your guilt while they sit in their hurt. And then this is so important, this is so hard for some of us, for those of us who kinda have a leadership gear and you're a fixer and you want to, you know, whenever it's a problem you wanna step in, I understand that. in that space and in that silence, everything in you is gonna say, and that little, whatever whisper in your ear is gonna say, "You need to take charge of the restoration process".
That is a mistake. Restoration is not up to you in that moment, you did the damage, you allow them to choose the speed and the method of recovery. Specifically, don't tell them how bad you feel, that's irritating and irrelevant. You have made them feel bad, it doesn't matter how bad you feel, you should feel bad. To say, "I feel so bad," that's like a request for empathy like, "Would you please feel sorry for me? I realize I devastated you with my words, but now I feel bad, I need a little something coming my way". No, you don't deserve anything coming your way, I don't deserve anything coming my way, right? I'm the perpetrator, I'm the one that caused the problem, you're not in a position to ask for anything, don't tell 'em how bad you feel, and don't ask for a hug, okay? That's a request for proximity.
"I've just done this to you with my words, now I want you to come over here, sugar, come over here baby". No, you don't do that, that's their decision. And lemme just say something, for those of you with kids living in your home, this is important, there's a continuum of how this applies with your kids. When they're little itty bitty, you apologize quick, you reconcile quick because you can't let too much time go by, the older they get and the more mature they get, you need to begin creating space for them to determine when and how to move back in your direction, don't use your authority as a parent to force proximity when your kids aren't ready.
Remember, you're in a relationship is not the same relationship, and that's hard as a parent, but there's time and a place, and you may disagree with this, what I'm about to say next, that's okay, don't ask for forgiveness. Here's why, forgiveness is a gift. You just took something from that person, you just took something from the lady at work, you just took something from the guy, you just took something from your neighbor with your words, you just took something from your spouse or your children or your brother or sister, you just took something from them, you owe them something, don't ask for something, don't ask for forgiveness, you're not in a position to ask for anything, that's a power play.
"I hurt you, now I need you to do the right thing because we all know Jesus says forgive and God says forgive and you need to forgive. So come on, I'm asking you, would you please forgive me"? No, no, no, no, you just let that sit. You say, "Andy, that doesn't sound very Christian". It is Christian, here's what Jesus said. He said, "Even the Son of man didn't come to be served but to serve, to give my life and ransom for me". This is what it looks like to be others' first when we've screwed up with our words, "I'm gonna elevate you, I'm gonna give you space, I'm gonna let you set the pace for restoration, I'm not gonna ask anything from you, I'm just gonna submit myself to you".
Now you think, "Andy, that's going too far," you just turn it around, wouldn't it have been so much better if he or she had taken that approach when he or she hurt you? Instead of coming on strong, fix it, you know, feel pressure, why aren't we better, why, why, why and you're just like pushing and they're trying to contain the fire, and they're just blowing, you know, oxygen on the fire and just making it worse. And then they can't figure out why you're not okay, and then they walk away and you're like, "Wait a minute, he hurt me, now he's mad at me 'cause I didn't respond the way he or she thought I should. Well, what's going on"?
We don't wanna live that way, you don't wanna conduct your relationships that way. And we can do better if we will just remember what we are and who we are and what we represent to the person on the other side of us, and we can remember humility, sensitivity, humility, sensitivity, humility, sensitivity. You let them choose if and when they forgive, that's how you extinguish a word fire. It is not intuitive because we are innately selfish, and I want to be understood, and I want to be right, and I want to come out looking okay. And our heavenly Father says, "But you're following my Son," the perfect Son of God who laid down His life for you.
So shut up and lay down your life for him and for her. Imagine this world if that's how people responded to one another. So wrapping up, every time you speak, every time we speak, our words portray intentions, right? Three dynamics are always at play, words aren't equally weighted, negatives weigh more than positives, you know that, source determines weight. That means you gotta think about who am I, what do I represent to the person on the other side of me? And intent is usually irrelevant. Don't defend yourself with intent, it just doesn't matter. These three things determine what people hear and what they feel regardless of what we think we're saying. And when we get it wrong, and we're all gonna get it wrong, don't try to contain it, just decide, "I'm gonna humble myself, I'm gonna extinguish it". It's the quickest way back to relational wholeness, assuming they decide that they want you to reestablish that relationship.
So here's the final question, I know this is one of those pesky preacher questions, but I gotta ask anyway. Is there anybody at home who has been crushed by your words recently? Is there anybody in the neighborhood, anybody at work, maybe a friend, maybe a friend of a friend, maybe your kids had some friends over and you, you said that stupid dad thing or that stupid mom thing and they left and you're like, "Ugh". Is anybody been crushed by your words? Is there a fire that you have attempted to contain by explaining that you need to just step back and extinguish? The good news is this, your mouth that's so dangerous is also a tool that can bring about good, if you'll choose to use it that way, if you will bring a big dose of humility and sensitivity back into the relationship. And I know this is hard to hear when the person you need to apply it to is sitting next to you, I know it's hard to hear this when the person you need to apply it to is somewhere close to you, that requires a double dose of humility, and I wanna encourage you today to just go for it.
As hard as it is for you, it will be extraordinarily healing for them. Even if, and guys, lemme just say to the guys, I know what you're thinking, you're like, "Oh, but if I do it, she's gonna think I'm just doing it 'cause you said too". Look up here. That's why it is a double dose of humility. "You know what, you're right, honey, I'm doing this because Andy talked about it, and I'm doing it because it's what I need to do". We can do this, go for it. And whether that's good advice for everybody, if you're a Jesus follower, this is what love sounds like, this is what love does, this is in some way what Jesus did for us and for the world, this is what loving one another sounds like. So in the words of Paul, "Do not let any stinky word, do not let any unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only words that are good for building others up according to their needs, not yours, that it may benefit everyone who hears". Your words carry weight, steward them well.
Heavenly Father, it's so much easier to stand up here and talk about than walk out those doors and do, so wherever this lands with us, I pray we would have the courage to humble ourselves and just do it, not wait, not think about it, just humble ourselves, do what we need to do. So give us eyes to see those people around us that have been hurt by, crushed by our words, our tone, our response, our reaction, and give us the courage to do what we need to do. And Father, ugh, if you would just raise up a generation of Christians who just understand this one thing, that we would export your grace and mercy through our words in every relationship, and that when we get it wrong, we would get it right 'cause you've shown us how, so give us the courage to step into this. Give us the courage to run to the Father with all of our sin and all of our shame and all of our failing to take our cue from our father in heaven who loved us so much, He moved in our direction before we did anything to even begin earning it or even know to ask for it. In Jesus name, amen.