The blessing of repentance (1)
“The kindness of God leads you to repentance.” Ro 2:4 NAS
When you find yourself on the wrong road, repentance allows you to make a U-turn and head back in the right direction. What a blessing. Now, repenting doesn’t increase God’s desire to be with you; it just increases your capacity to be with Him. Sometimes we think we need to repent because God is mad at us and needs time to cool off. Or we think of repenting as a way of punishing ourselves so that God will be less severe with us. That’s not repentance, that’s low self-esteem! Low self-esteem causes you to believe that you have so little worth that your response doesn’t matter. With repentance, however, you understand that because you’re worth so much to God, your response is important. Paul says, “The kindness of God leads you to repentance.” When you love God, your greatest concern isn’t that God will hurt you, but that your actions will hurt Him. When David murdered Uriah after having slept with his wife, he went a year without repenting. He had to force his mind not to think about it. What a miserable way to live. In his penitential prayer, he said, “My sin is always before me” (Ps 51:3 NIV). Then he cried, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…Create in me a pure heart, O God…Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (vv. 7, 10, 12 NIV). As a result, God forgave him and wiped his slate clean, and David went on to become Israel’s greatest king. You see, repentance isn’t merely for God’s benefit—it’s for yours!