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The Way of Repentance



“The nearer a man lives to God, the more intensely he

has to mourn over his own evil heart.”

Charles Spurgeon

I grew up in a family that usually dealt with conflict in the immediate. For instance, if my sister and I got in a fight, my parents would pull us together right away; and we would each lay out our case, and then my dad would chime in as the voice of reason and resolution. This included us coming to a recognition of where we were each wrong; and we would apologize, forgive one another, and move forward.

This response in my family, though annoying at times, taught me so much about navigating relationships in a healthy way. Humility on all sides allowed for us to reset. It made me feel safe, seen, heard, and hopeful.

I will admit, this being the usual response to any fighting we may have had caused me to at times just go through the motions of saying “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you," just so we could move on and get out of there. Meanwhile, my prideful heart was still fiery. Because of my superficial performance, I would leave the interaction still unresolved from the struggle between whichever family member I had issue with. In cases like this, I didn't come to a place of regret or remorse that produced a change of heart or one that returned me to peace.

As people, we can easily underestimate the consequence of an unrepentant heart. We think we are right in our own view, and our hearts can become hardened. The word says in James 4:6, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” So this means that the act of faking our repentance or just being outright unrepentant separates us from God. The Word literally says He “resists" the proud. Ouch!! Furthermore, the Bible reminds us over and over again how the Lord loves to lift up the humble.

The truth is, the more that I grow in Christ, the more I am aware of how much I need His grace and His power to flow through me. I can’t live without repentance or I am lost. So, I pray that I will have the strength to choose the way of repentance as a practice in my life.

The word “repentance” in the Hebrew language means return - as if turning back to something you’ve strayed or looked away from.

I recently listened to a podcast that featured Jon Gordon, the author of “The Power of Positive Leadership." During the interview he shared the STAR method used in navigating conflict.

S - Small Ego/Big Mission, T - Tell the Truth, A - Assume Positive Intent, R - Relationship Focus.

I loved this because although he explains it in the context of managing a staff or team of people, the same principles can be applied to the issue of sin and repentance and managing our hearts. As I go through the S-T-A-R method with that idea, I can draw helpful parallels that align my heart to God’s heart when it comes to repentance.

S - Small Ego. Is my pride getting in the way of truly seeing the sin in my life?

T - Tell The Truth. Am I being truthful with myself and honoring God and others in my version of events?

A - Assume Positive Intent. I think the reason we hold on to pride and try to do things our own way often is because we have a hard time believing that God is good and His ways are for our good. We can trust Him in our humility and in the laying down of our lives. Again, the Word reminds us that this is the way to the bearing of fruit and unlocking Kingdom blessings in our lives.

R - Relationship Focus. When I return to humility that I’ve strayed from and seek to honor God and others, I protect those relationships. I don’t want to be separated from people, and I certainly don’t want to be separated from God.

The way of repentance becomes a hero principle of life that protects us and protects others. It guides us into the Kingdom way of life that produces fruit, and God releases our purpose and destiny readily as we remain connected to His heart.

Your Friend,

Rachel

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