It is a well known scene; an angry defiant face, mumbled words to placate mom, a faster than lightening hug and then the offender moves on to the next thing on his four-year old agenda. Sometimes as a parent the lack of repentance in our children’s lives appalls us; how can you have just knocked your brother over and the only thing you are concerned with is that you are now in trouble? Is self-preservation really so important?
As a responsible parent, I want my children to grow up knowing that theymust apologize for the things they do wrong. However, there are cases that they are just going through the motions, sometimes there is even a denial of the thing they did wrong and an effort to just ignore it and move on as if nothing happened. We look on in amazement as a two-year old refuses to say those two little words, “I’m sorry”.
It may be amusing to us, but the truth is that there is often a parallel in my own life. Recently I have been been meditating on the concept of repentance. It seems simple enough; you do something wrong, you say you’re sorry and you stop doing that thing. Easy, move on. But as I have been reflecting on issues in my life that I would have hoped to have had victory over by now I realized that in my efforts to grow beyond them I have never repented for them.
When we look to the scriptures we see this concept of repentance, in Jeremiah 25:5 the Lord tells His people, ““They said, “Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers forever and ever.”, and when Jesus started his earthly ministry what did He begin with? “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mark 4:17. Why does there need to be repentance? Why should I take the time to actually acknowledge that there are issues that I fail? In Psalm 51:6 David writes, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,”. Is there truth in my most inward parts? Am I confessing my sins before the Lord so that there can be forgiveness and a cleansing from all unrighteousness?
I think personally sometimes there is a tendency to make light of sin; ‘Well, it’s just a little doubt”. However, in the area of sin, which is a simple as missing the mark of the Lord’s holiness, there is no small or insignificant sin. My sin was dark enough to separate me from the presence of the Father, my sin was poisonous enough to cause the Son to die in my place, my sin dampens the power of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.
So, what does repentance look like? "Repentance involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; the repentant sinner is in the proper condition to accept the divine forgiveness.” (Strong’s dictionary). Ultimately there is no sin that God doesn’t already know, there is no hiding anything from Him. However, by not addressing it we risk never moving on from it. God desires truth in our most inward parts; let us confess and repent of those things that we struggle with! He is so faithful to not only forgive, but to bring victory in our lives over things that we could never conquer on our own!