It’s Never Too Late


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

I always was intrigued and moved by this song by OneRepublic, “Apologize.” It always sounded nice to me, but I was not motivated to add it to my iPod until I saw it rendered into an acapella version on NBC. Almost right away, you can tell that the song Narrator has a lot of bitterness towards his love interest, who let him down:

I’m holding on your rope,
Got me ten feet off the ground
I’m hearin what you say but I just can’t make a sound
You tell me that you need me
Then you go and cut me down, but wait
You tell me that you’re sorry
Didn’t think I’d turn around, and say…

It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late
I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late

The bitterness of the Narrator continues:

I’d take another chance, take a fall
Take a shot for you
And I need you like a heart needs a beat
But it’s nothin new
I loved you with a fire red-
Now it’s turning blue, and you say…
“Sorry” like the angel heaven let me think was you
But I’m afraid…

It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late
I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late

Many times, people can hurt each other, and the apologies come too late. Sometimes, the person to whom the apology is directed, like the song Narrator, actually says, “Too little, too late.” You know what, many times we do apologize too late to the ones we love and may have hurt. That’s because, many times, it is very hard to apologize. It is very hard to swallow your ego and pride and admit that you were wrong and feel sorry for the hurt you have caused.

Why is this so?

Are we so arrogant that we cannot see when we do wrong ourselves? Partly, yes. Are we so arrogant that we cannot show humility to someone else? Partly, yes. Yet, it is also hard to face the fact that you have caused someone you care about very much emotional harm and pain. It is also difficult to remind yourself that you are not perfect, and that you do make mistakes.

For all that and more is involved by simply saying, “I’m sorry.” So, let us all commit ourselves to try to say “I’m sorry” sooner whenever we make a mistake and hurt the ones we love. That way, we won’t be told, “It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late…”

Yet, there is Someone to Whom it is never too late to apologize: our Precious Beloved Lord. I am always reminded of this fact when I listen to this song. It is never too late to say to the Lord, “I’m sorry.” The Lord is always there, waiting for us to come back to Him and re-enter his fold. For whenever we sin, we estrange ourselves from our Precious Beloved. We place a barrier between us and He. We fall as our father Adam (pbuh) fell all those years ago.

Yet, just as our father came back to his Lord, it is never too late to come back to Ours. He has given us so much, not the least of which is life when we were dead nothing. The Qur’an reminds us of this fact: “Has there not been a period of time when humanity was nothing to be mentioned at all?” (76:1) Indeed, there was probably a long period of time when we were nothing. Yet, the Lord our God gave us life. For this fact alone, we should be coming back to the Lord and apologizing to Him every single hour for our sins against Him.

All the same challenges with apologies apply here, as well. It may be difficult to show to admit that you were wrong. It may be difficult to swallow your pride and come back with humility to the Lord. Yet, it should not be. There is no more Beautiful Being to which to come back. The Lord will never say, “Too little, too late” as long as we come back to Him while we are alive in this world. The Lord will not chastise us for all that we did. He will not make us feel terrible for the wrongs we have committed. In fact, we can never delude ourselves by thinking that our sin is bigger than God’s mercy. Never. When we come to Him, He will simply open His arms to us and let us into His soothing mercy.

There is a Sacred Hadith, which is a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in which he relays what God has said, that illustrates this perfectly:

“A man sinned greatly against himself, and when death came to him he charged his sons, saying: ‘When I have died, burn me, then crush me and scatter [my ashes] into the sea, for, by Allah, if my Lord takes possession of me, He will punish me in a manner in which He has punished no one [else].’ So they did that to him. Then He said to the earth: ‘Produce what you have taken – and there he was!’ And He said to him: ‘What induced you to do what you did?’ He said: ‘Being afraid of You, O my Lord (or he said: ‘Being frightened of You’),’ and because of that He forgave him.”

The hadith literature is full of stories like this, of the immense and truly immeasurable mercy of the Lord. It is out of His Love that He is like this. In fact, the Lord says in another hadith: “My Mercy prevails over my Wrath.” What a Beautiful and Awesome God we have. So why not come back to Him as many times as we can? Why not say “Sorry” as often as possible and receive the warmth and healing of His mercy? We will not regret it in the least.

Yes, human beings can be spiteful and cruel and unforgiving when we say “I’m sorry” to them. It may be that they are truly hurt, and it is hard for them to “forgive and forget” right then and there. But, that is not the case with the Lord. When we sin against Him, we do not harm the Lord one iota. We only harm ourselves by estranging ourselves from the Face of God. And when we come back to Him and say, “I’m so sorry, Lord,” He will forgive on the spot. He told us so. And as long as we live and breathe on God’s green earth, it is never too late.

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