“Godly sorrow brings repentance” (II Corinthians 7:10)
There we sat across from one another at a small local restaurant having lunch. We had been meeting for a few weeks, following her confession of a sin she had committed. I knew she was sorry for what she had done, but I just didn’t sense that true repentance was in her heart – yet. However, as we were making small talk over lunch, she suddenly dropped her fork and began to sob. I’m talking big tears streaming down her face. Right there in the restaurant, over the lunch special, God’s Spirit had taken hold of her heart and she began to truly repent over her sin, asking God to forgive her. It was not the result of anything I did or said. It was an encounter between her and the supernatural conviction of God’s Spirit. I’m sure the other patrons seated in the café thought we were two very strange women. For there, my lunch partner sat in her chair sobbing; and there I sat in my chair with a big smile on my face. Repentance is a beautiful thing!
Probably one of the greatest instances of repentance we have in the bible is that of David. He wrote in Psalm 51, “I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Every individual knows exactly what their sin is. We are keenly aware of every detail of our transgression. We may try to bury it in the recesses of our conscience, hide it from others, deny it to everyone; but let’s be honest our sin is always there, imbedded in our mind, weighing on our heart. David continues, “against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” We may sin against others. We may use them, abuse them, hurt them; but ultimately our sin is against our holy God. He is the one who deserves our repentance. In verse 9, David cries out, “hide your face from my sins and blot out my iniquity.” The only one who can blot out sin, I mean completely erase the sin we commit is Jesus Christ. And when he blots it out, it is not only forgiven, but it is gone and forgotten. David then continues in verse 10, “create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” When God purges our heart, he then renews and recreates something steadfast and beautiful in us.
You may know someone who needs to experience the same repentance, forgiveness, and cleansing that David experienced. Or perhaps you are the one who needs to experience this for yourself. Repentance isn’t rocket science, nor brain surgery. It is a humbling of the heart before the loving arms of Jesus Christ. If you know someone who needs to repent, don’t give up on them. Don’t quit praying for them. And if you are the one who needs to experience what David is talking about in Psalm 51, I encourage you to take care of what needs to be taken care of today.
Forgiveness is not determined by the offense, but by the heart of the offender and their obedience to God’s convicting power. And that makes repentance a beautiful thing!