A wonderful illustration of repentance from Lily & Light describes it as the following:
comforting and healing our weariness and pain
It is turning from sin and to God.
When you think of repentance as comforting, does that change the tenor of the act for you? It does for me. As a daily exercise, repentance can absolutely feel like a real bummer. Who wants to start, end, or meet God in the middle of their day with a heavy heart full of self-loathing? Not me. Yet I have done it for as long as I can remember, even if only moment-by-moment.
Yes, repentance involves feeling badly about something. Otherwise you wouldn’t realize or care that whatever it was, was wrong in the first place. But here’s the key that I think Kristin was making: that’s where feeling badly ENDS.
After that initial feeling of wrongdoing, and turning that sin over to the Lord, it’s time to be comforted. Imagine yourself a child who has been punished and is crying because you feel sad about disappointing a parent. What does that parent do? Turn around and walk away? “Glad you’re crying, you horrible kid!”
Of course not. You wrap your arms around the hurting child, despite being angry at what they did – and maybe you still are! You don’t let that feeling overcome your desire to show your love to your child.
I believe it works sort of like that with God. He doesn’t like what we did; He didn’t want us to choose sin over obedience. But He isn’t holding it against us when we’ve sincerely repented. He’s ready to wrap His arms around us!
So our thoughts have turned in a different direction. Now we have our second choice to make: to keep sinning or stop. It’s that simple (to say – in actuality stopping that sin is often incredibly difficult).
Therein lies the rub, yes? If we have decided to trust in our loving God and repent, and be welcomed back into a complete relationship with Him, it’s just as hard to stop doing what we were doing. The following are some examples that are problematic – to say the least – to disengage from:
- Rage – to stop letting your anger emerge against yourself or others;
- Lust – to stop letting your thoughts wander towards that man or woman, especially if you’re married; to stop wanting ANYTHING more than God;
- Greed – to stop thinking you need to make more money if you can’t afford what you want – because the more you make, the more you’ll want;
- Laziness – to put down the remote and get up and do what needs to be done; to get off Facebook (AFTER you’ve read this post, of course), and get back to work;
- Addiction – to put down that drink, that drug, that food, etc.;
These are just some of the many obstacles that separate us from God. You have your own, private ones, and the public ones you can’t hide. At any rate, they gotta go. If you can decide to put them down and turn away and never do them again – awesome. Congrats. But most of us have to put them down A LOT before they’re fully gone. And even then, we have to be watchful for the prowling lion from 1 Peter 5:8. We cannot let it beat us.
Some of these sins require more than a promise made to God, to yourself, and/or to family and friends. Some of these sins require significant outside help. Do it. It’s worth it. Anything is better than hating yourself for what you’ve done and continue to do.
Let Jesus set you free! Blessings y’all!