What is Repentance?
Repentance. It is a vital part of our walk with God, but what is repentance? According to one dictionary, it is to, “feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.” That sounds just about right. But how do we know that we are expressing true regret or remorse or the right amount of regret and remorse?
Feeling badly about a wrongdoing or sin and saying “sorry” to God may not be true repentance. Repentance is more than feeling badly and evokes a much deeper response than “sorry”. Consider this from Psalm 38: “Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”
This sounds a lot more intense than “sorry” and feeling badly. Indeed, look at the depth of pain the psalmist David experiences in his repentance: “All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away.”
David is so overwhelmed with the weight of his sin, he declares the following: “For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.”
Today, spend some quiet time with the Lord. Ask Him to reveal your hidden, or not so hidden, sins—pride, unforgiveness, gossip, unfaithfulness, “white” lies, an unwilling heart… As He brings revelation, ask Him to lead you into a place of genuine repentance and to change your heart so that you can turn from your sin and truly trust in Him more completely.