How many of us enjoying admitting we are wrong? When we are wrong, it is a moment that is extremely difficult to interact with. In our very core, our nature rebels against this idea that we can be wrong. When it comes to repentance, it is something that we often avoid. We do not like to acknowledge that we are not where we should be. We often feel ashamed, bitter, or even angry when we realize this.
The core issue that rests in our heart is pride. Pride, as some have said, is the source of all sin. It is what got Satan kicked out of heaven and it is what continues to keep us from a life of repentance. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Scripture is very clear about this issue of pride. It is not to be desired, it is something that detracts from our walk with the Lord. Martin Luther once said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” Repentance isn’t a one and done kind of thing. If we truly understand the gospel and how wicked our hearts can be, then this quote will almost be a symphony to the ears.
When one hears “Repent,” it can be offensive, condemning, or even disconnected from who is saying it. Many have abused what this word means. Ryan Kearns says, “We fail to grasp that the call to repent is a sweet invitation to have more grace, more mercy, and ultimately more happiness than if we remain in our sin. Leaving our sin behind does not lessen us, but restores us and empowers us to be who God has made us to be.”
Repentance at its core is saying God, I trust you, I know that I have wronged here, and I want to completely shift my life away from my sin and turn my face to you. Repentance is not a momentary guilt trip, saying you are sorry and you will never do it again. Repentance is acknowledging your sin, turning away from your sin, and running into the gracious arms of Christ.
As a leader, a father, a parent, or anyone with some sort of influence, repentance is one of the most powerful leadership moments in your life. It can be difficult to admit to your spouse that you have sinned against them. You feel vulnerable and uneasy. As Kearns also says, “Repentance does not equal weakness. Rather, it shows to all around us how much we love Jesus more than our sin. The quickest way to change a culture, a church, an organization, a family, a friendship, or a community is through repentance.”
Don’t be afraid of repentance, it won’t make you any less of a person that you are. If anything it is preaching the gospel to those around you and you will have a fuller and deeper relationship with Christ. When we repent, it shows that we acknowledge that we need a savior. We need someone to deliver us from our sin. It also shows that God is not done with us. The challenge is not to avoid repentance, but to actively seek it.
– Pastor Luke