Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Repentance is Not Remorse

Last week, in our discussion about The Cure: What if God Isn’t Who You Think He Is and Neither Are You, by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol and Bill Thrall, we considered the issue of what happens when Christians hurt each other (and why), and the experiences of too many people when the hurt comes not from an individual but from a church.

Aside from the hurt, the problem worsens when we become preoccupied with it, dwell on it, and work it over and over again in our minds. That’s when the sin done to us becomes our sin.

Every one of us has examples of being hurt. And while I can only speak for myself, I suspect every one of us has examples of turning the sin into our sin.

But we can choose a different path, say the authors of The Cure, and it starts with weariness, when we become so weary of dwelling on the hurt that we do the only thing we can do.

We turn to God.

We repent.

And perhaps for the first time ever, I understood what repentance actually is.

“Repentance isn’t doing something about my sin,” the authors write. “”It is admitting I can’t do anything about my sin. It is trusting only God can cleanse me, and only He can convince me that I’m truly cleansed.

“God never tells me to get over something and just get past it. Instead, He asks me to trust Him with every circumstance.”

Even the circumstances when we’re hurt.

Especially the circumstances when we’re hurt.

Repentance isn’t remorse or regret. It is an active word, a turning over all of the hurt, the sin, the problems, all of the baggage from our lives, including our recent lives, and admitting we can’t do anything about it.

So that hurt from the busybodies’ gossip at church?

That time when the church nearly wrecked itself trying to become the next Willowcreek?

When the choir was unceremoniously dismissed and replaced with a rock band?

That time when a pastor failed, or was failed by the church?

Or when the elders made a dumb decision and ran over anyone in their path who raised an objection?

Or when you found out you wouldn’t be seeing a live pastor during worship but only someone on a video screen?

Or when the hymnals disappeared from the church pews, replaced by repetitious choruses on a projector screen?

Or when the Sunday School classes were reorganized into demographic interest groups?

You can name more. I can, too.

I can name so many that I’ve come to the point of weariness.

The point of repentance.

It’s time to trust that God knows what He’s doing, and he doesn’t need my valuable input to do it.

Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been discussing The Cure. Today concludes our thoughts on Chapter 5, Two Healings. To see more posts on this chapter, please visit Jason at Connecting to Impact.

Photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission. 


Martha Jane Orlando said...

I needed this perspective today, Glynn. Thank you! Blessings!

jasonS said...

Love this, Glynn, on so many levels. Whether it's big or small, hurt is hurt. We have to acknowledge it and truly forgive. Honestly, I've prayed several times since I read this chapter last week that God would give me the "gift of repentance." I've said "I repent" a lot and many times it remained just words. Unless He's in it, there can't be true repentance. Well, not sure how I got off on all that... :) Thanks Glynn.