Heart Condition

Romans 2: 4

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Yesterday I wrote to you that repentance broke open the way for our Father’s supply to reach me. I hesitate to even talk about repentance because some people are so freaky about it. We are aware of the sort of preacher who would have everyone falling to their knees at the altar in great travail over their sins, tears streaming down their face. Some people carry the histrionics so far that true repentance is lost in the dramatic arts.

True repentance is a heart condition. It need not be public. It does not require moaning, groaning or groveling. It requires understanding that you are not where God directed you. Your “sin” (another word I use lightly) may not be intentional though that does not change that we have failed to do what God told us. Often, as in the story I told you yesterday, there is a moment of clarity when you realize that you have missed the mark. In that moment, without the necessity of any formal methods, simply talk with your Father. He already knows you are wandering off in the weeds. It will not be any revelation to Him that you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing. So, just talk with Him as if He is an interested person, a lover of your soul, because He does, in fact, love you above all else. See in Him acceptance as He guides you back onto the right path. Repent for not doing what He has told you to do. It is as easy as, “Father, I am sorry. I apologize. You have taught me to pray over my life and family daily and I haven’t been doing it. Forgive me.” And that’s it. You don’t have to bawl and wallow on the floor in a manner worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy.

I want you to know that repentance can be a simple matter. You can speak with your Father, openly. He is accepting and kind. That is not to say your heart won’t sometimes feel intense grief when you realize you are off the prescribed path. It is just to say that turning your face to Him and, with very normal words, talking to Him makes it better. He picks you up and returns you to where you should be. Repentance should be, to you, healing. In fact, it has blessing in it. Just learn to say, “I’m sorry Dad. I messed up.”

Perhaps we’ve simply lost the skill of apology. Maybe we have forgotten how to apologize to our friends and family when we offend them. Repentance and forgiveness does not have to be an elaborate affair full of ceremony. That does not mean it lacks sincerity though. I would not minimize the emotional impact discovery of disobedience can have. Instead, I would communicate to you that it is okay for you to feel those deep emotions and equally okay for you to speak with Father about them instantly and without having to weep at an altar. The reason I want to convey this truth is because I do not want you to hesitate for even a moment. I want you to immediately turn to your Father and apologize. Receive His forgiveness and let Him get you back on track. There may be times when you do feel such pain that you want to lie at His feet and cry. There is no shame in that. Just don’t think that repentance is a “churchy” demonstration or stage play. It does not have to be accompanied by profuse displays of grief, though it can be. You don’t have to go to church to repent nor should you be made to feel that your repentance needs to be a public spectacle. You may need or want the support of your church family, but don’t think that repentance is so one dimensional. Let it be normal and let it be sincere. Receive forgiveness and then get on with what God has told you to do. And, be blessed.