Matthew 21:28-32 (NLT)
28 "But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, `Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' 29 The son answered, `No, I won't go,' but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, `You go,' and he said, `Yes, sir, I will.' But he didn't go. 31 Which of the two was obeying his father?" They replied, "The first, of course." Then Jesus explained his meaning: "I assure you, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the way to life, and you didn't believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to turn from your sins and believe him.
Jesus was telling the leading priests and Pharisees of the temple a parable. The parable was intended to show who was doing right. To some it appears what is right is that which is first seen and acknowledged, but it is actually the actions taken in the proper manner that is right. Jesus goes on to rebuke the leaders by saying that corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into heaven before they do, because they refused to take action and do what was right.
There is a commercial for a popular brand of foot care products where one car runs into the back of another. The car that gets hit is severely damaged. Both guys get out and it is like no one needs to take care of the problem because the foot care product has them so relaxed about the situation. Now how would you feel if someone ran into the back of your car and got out and said, “Hey, see you have a bad dent there? We are just chill’ in right? Sorry about the car, hope you have a good day.” Now you are standing there with your car a total wreck and this guy wants to say sorry and walk off. Does sorry take care of the problem? If the person was truly sorry they would have taken the action to make things right. In 2 Corinthians 7:10-12 it says, “For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death. Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish the wrongdoer. You showed that you have done everything you could to make things right. My purpose was not to write about who did the wrong or who was wronged. I wrote to you so that in the sight of God you could show how much you really do care for us.” Taking action and making things right is what is important to God. Is there someone you need to make things right with? Pray that God might reveal areas in your life where things need to be made right. Pray you will strive to take action to make those areas in your life pleasing to God. Ask for Christ’s help when you are weak.