REGRET VS. REPENTANCE
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony." Hebrews 11:1-2
I am a flawed human being. I want to do what is right, but I don’t. I’m pulled by my own natural desires. I want to do my will and that doesn’t always align with God's will for my life.
"I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway." Romans 7:19
My sins are many, and more often than not I’m convicted/feel guilty because I know I’m not giving God my best and therefore my family is getting the short end of the stick as well.
"I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, 'I am determined to be wise.' But it didn't work." Ecclesiastes 7:23 (NLT)
Living with sin is exhausting. It is a lot like trying to juggle a power saw, a bomb and an alligator – it is only a matter of time when one of them is going to get you. Asking for forgiveness is hard. First we have to admit to ourselves that what the world finds okay for a Christian is sin. Pride rears its ugly head to keep us from asking for forgiveness. But it is impossible to be a Child of God and live in sin. The unrepented sin will fester like an open sore oozing shame and guilt. But confessing our sin to God is a safe place. Forgiving our sins and restoring us to Him is the reason Jesus Christ came!
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17
God is in the business of forgiving. There is a caveat though - in order to be forgiven we have to be repentant. Not just regret the fact that we've sinned, but abhor what we've done to the point that we turn away from that sin and not do it again.
This quote from ‘Judges - The Flawed and the flawless’ by Timothy Keller spoke volumes on the difference between regret and repentance:
"Regret and repentance are not the same thing. Regret is sorrow over the consequences of a sin, not the sin itself. Regret focuses on me, on what I have lost, how my heart is breaking. Repentance is about turning back to God, accepting how He has been grieved, how He has not received the honor He deserves. Regret stays sad, but repentance doesn't because when we repent we are forgiven and restored. Regret never moves on or restores relationship with God; repentance removes all regret."
"For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret whereas worldly grief produces death." 2 Corinthians 7:10
As we are forgiven so we too need to have the same heart towards others who sin agains us. Yes, I know what you are thinking - Yeah, but you don't know what he did!" or "She said those lies about me..." but Jesus not only came to earth to give forgiveness but to teach us how to forgive as well.
"Then Peter came to him and asked, 'LORD, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 'No, not seven times,' JESUS replied, 'but seventy times seven!" Matthew 18:21-22
Hebrews 11. We call that chapter the hall of faith. It is full of people whom the Lord used in many great ways - they were flawed, they sinned and then sinned again - the same sin! Sound familiar? (Genesis 12:13 and 20:2) God's forgiveness is continual. The men and women, when they weren't falling on their faces in shame for sins committed, they were walking tall and strong in the Lord, believing what He said was true and, though they hit bumps in the road, God's faithfulness to keep His promises kept them on course.
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Hebrews 11:13
I am a flawed human being, but I pray I would hold on tight to God who has lavished me with His love, grace and forgiveness...hold on to the one who has held me in His nail-scarred hands and will present me one day spotless to His Father because He took the consequences of my sin and made it His.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
by Eve Montano