Repent used to be such a scary word for me. For some reason it felt like if I admitted I was wrong, then the wrath of it all would come crashing down on me. I would be exposed for being a “SINNER”. But if I didn’t admit it, it would just…disappear. It felt like if I had something to repent for then I must’ve been a really “bad person”. Based on my own judgment, I hadn’t done anything THAT bad. Maybe for some of us it is a little pride here or a white lie there and possibly some “harmless” gossip or maybe even just an unkind tone. Maybe it’s drunkenness last weekend or sexual impurity a few nights ago. We all have something that we have tried to justify in our minds as being “okay” when the Word of God says it isn’t.
So for me…I didn’t repent. I wouldn’t say sorry to anyone, especially God. I would just move forward like nothing ever happened. I’d still call that friend like I hadn’t just gossiped about her or stop by parents like I wasn’t just rude to my mom. I would pray and ask God for whatever I needed like He was a genie in the sky waiting on me hand and foot. I didn’t say sorry for staying away too long or for only reaching out when I needed Him. I didn’t repent for blatantly going against His word. I just didn’t bring it up.
“Produce fruit by keeping with repentance.”
I felt distant from everyone. Not the “what happened to us, I don’t even know you” distance, but that subtle distance where you and I both know there is a lack of truth and authenticity between us. People around me could only get so close because of my pride that was quick to remind them they weren’t safe with me. How could they trust me if I was never wrong despite how they felt? How could we grow if I never made adjustments? If I never bothered to OWN what I had done?
I was treating God the same. He could only do so much with a heart that wasn’t willing to change. God is gracious, yes. But how unfair was it of me to beg Him for my immediate needs when I never bothered to say sorry for breaking His heart? I put earthly things before Him and didn’t always obey His commands. I sinned against His children and pretended like I didn’t. I pretended like I was sin-free.
How can I have an intimate-loving relationship with my Savior if I refuse to acknowledge the very things He died to save me from? My own sin. When I really think about it…Jesus died to save sinners. But if I don’t consider myself a sinner then I discredit His sacrifice for me. Ouch. I am effectively denying the need for Christ in my life when I choose to act like I don’t sin.
“Repent and then turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
This realization wrecked me. I now understand that the humbling that comes from repentance is the most beautiful process. I NEED a savior every single day. The act of saying sorry and being sorry is what creates intimacy with others and God. When we take a step towards repentance, God is faithful to meet us the rest of the way with forgiveness. When we lay down our need to be right, we diffuse arguments between those we love. When we consider God’s heart and start to consider other people’s hearts…we stop making it all about us. We start looking more like Jesus and the ripple effect it has in us and around us is undeniable.
Repentance is freedom. Repentance is victory over guilt, condemnation and shame. Repentance brings intimacy. Repentance brings healing. I am no longer afraid to repent because I know the One who I repent to. The God we serve is anxious to forgive us. He has no desire to hold onto our wrongs. He wants to be reconciled with us. He has already said yes to us through Jesus. Our yes to Him is in our repentance.
We should come boldly to the throne to lay our faults down in front of our King. That’s what he died for. We no longer have to carry or STAY in our failures. Your peace, your transformation, your rest is on the other side of repentance.
Repent beloved, His glory awaits…
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9
“Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but world sorrow brings death.”
2 Corinthians 7:9-10