“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
If you are sick, pretending you aren’t sick doesn’t make you well. Humans are terribly sick with a sin problem. No matter how much we and our culture try to explain away, excuse and discount sin, it doesn’t make it go away. No matter how good it may feel to have voices validating us in our sin, and no matter how much friend support we may even gain in justifying our sin- sin enslaves us. Sin is a problem every human has. The person who denies his or her sin is not free from it; actually, the opposite is true. A person with an unrepentant heart is a prisoner to sin.
So then why do I cringe at the word, repentance? Why do I resist repentance and turn to justification of my own sin? I believe it is both my pride and also a response to how the world handles repentance. Wave a white flag and people will maximize on your weakness. Surrender to your enemy and you’re taken captive as their prisoner. Confess that you are in the wrong and there is not grace but justice according to the law.
BUT. This is not the case in God’s kingdom. Repentance in God’s kingdom is not for abuse of power, punishment or condemnation. Repentance in God’s kingdom is for refreshing. Repentance in God’s kingdom is what breaks off the chains that enslave us. Repentance ushers in freedom, healing, restoration, and wholeness through the power of God’s grace and loving kindness. It is the kindness and goodness of God that leads me to repentance and it is the presence of God that refreshes my soul.
Prayer of Response:
God, thank you for extending grace and love-filled refreshment when I am humble and repentant. Thank you for being a safe place for the ugliest and most sin-filled parts of me. You are the only true perfect and holy one and would be justified in carrying out harsh punishment for me, but instead you extend me grace upon grace. I am humbled by your goodness and kindness. Help me to respond to others with a similar love and grace you extend to me. Amen.
Questions to Ponder:
- What feelings are stirred in you when you hear the word repentance?
- What experiences in your life may have caused you to put up walls when it comes to repentance?
- Have you experienced the refreshing that comes after repentance?
- How do you respond to another person’s repentance? Do you model a worldly or godly response?
—Submitted by Erinne Baker
Erinne Baker and her husband Travis live in Klamath Falls, Oregon where they are raising their four kids: Charlotte(10), Benjamin(7), William(6) and Wyatt (2). She is a pursuer of truth and learner of what it means to trust God and live a life fueled by love and grace. She is an ordained pastor and has a blog called: http//:truthseekeraskingquestions.com.