Have you ever disappointed yourself? Ever wished you had done or said things differently? If you are like I am, you spend a fair amount of time kicking yourself mentally and emotionally. Then you move on to convincing yourself you’ll do better next time. You might even look for an opportunity to try and “make it right.” At some point, you may even talk to God about it, and ask Him to help you “become a better person.” My question for us is this: what is godly sorrow; how do we find repentance?
I’m pretty sure that being disappointed in myself is not godly sorrow, and hoping I’ll find in my own nature and character a better response is not actually repentance. While I’m still disappointed in me or embarrassed of my choices, I am not moving toward the place where repentance can be found. I’m not looking in the right direction at all if I’m focused on my faults.
Jesus is able to present us faultless before the Father (Jude 1:24). This is important to us, because it means we can’t do that. We should stop trying. We can depend on the eternal work of the cross for our salvation and standing, and we can acknowledge with the psalmist, “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.” (Palm 16:2)
I am a sinner, a beggar. I have found grace and mercy and the bread of life, and my eternal soul is saved, but until I am always present with the Lord on the other side of this life, I will still sin and need forgiveness. The most awful result of sin is not that I disappoint myself, or even that I disappoint those I care about. The most awful result of sin is that it separates me from the One who loves me best, the One who died in my place, and the One who wants me to be with Him forever. Sin is always against the Lord (whether I am conscious of it or not) because His desire is that I would choose the life together with Him that He offers. When I choose to take what He has not given, it breaks our togetherness. I have sinned against Him, not only because taking the “thing” defies His Lordship but because it severs our fellowship.
His love is powerful enough to find me, save me, cleanse me of my faults, and bring me home to the place He has prepared just for me. Repentance is found when my desire to be reunited in fellowship with Him overshadows my desire to be “right” in my own eyes, and He allows me to experience both His pity for me and His joy over me. Repentance opens my heart to believe I am who He says I am and not who I think I am. He will deal with my sin, and there are often consequences, but He has promised to forgive me every time I repent and turn back to Him. And that means He will be with me through every consequence and every circumstance accomplishing His eternal purposes. Jesus is a friend of sinners. I’m glad He’s my friend.
Spend some time this week in Psalm 51. Meditate and ponder the wonderful reality that He can give you a clean heart and a willing spirit. Let this song by Lauren Daigle remind you whose you are and who you are.
Until next week, live believing God.