Repentance is a word we don’t like too much, because we don’t like to be wrong. We don’t like to admit we’re wrong. We don’t like to point out our issues. We don’t like to say we’re sorry. Or as the definition express, we don’t like to express “sincere regret or remorse.” It all sounds so serious when we want to move on and get over it. We want to lessen the impact something might have on us or others. The word sin makes us uncomfortable, because we would rather point out others’ sins. We’re not sure if there’s a scale of sins so we can compare one to another and possibly let us off the hook for a smaller offense. We don’t know the special circumstances that allow for something in one situation but not another. We might overthink repentance, or we might not think much of it at all.
But if we engage with God with authentic repentance, we find freedom. The more we practice repentance, the more alert and prepared we are. The more willing we are to say, “I did wrong. My attitude stinks. I’m not doing a great job of following and honoring you, God.” And we experience his grace every single time.
Perhaps this psalm will encourage you and help you take the next step.
1 How joyful is the one
whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered!
2 How joyful is the man
the Lord does not charge with sin
and in whose spirit is no deceit!
3 When I kept silent, my bones became brittle
from my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was drained
as in the summer’s heat. Selah
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to You
and did not conceal my iniquity.
“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and You took away the guilt of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You
at a time that You may be found.
When great floodwaters come,
they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place;
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and show you the way to go;
with My eye on you, I will give counsel.
9 Do not be like a horse or mule,
that must be controlled with bit and bridle
or else it will not come near you.
10 Many pains come to the wicked,
but the one who trusts in the Lord
will have faithful love surrounding him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,
you righteous ones;
shout for joy,
all you upright in heart. (Psalm 32)