Introduction to Repentance
Repentance is the act of asking for forgiveness and seeking a reunion with somebody you wronged. It is an acknowledgment of your mistakes and your effort in correcting them.
Everybody is prone to committing mistakes because of their imperfection. What counts is how you make it up to the person you wronged. Do you regret your actions and make deliberate efforts to clean up your mess or do you overlook the hurt you caused those you wronged?
Repentance is not an event but a process that must be followed to completion.
The Process of Repentance
The first step in repentance is confession. It is owing up to your mistakes and admitting that you were on the wrong side. Confession is not vague. It is clear and directed at the offended party. A confession of a husband to his wife could be, “I am sorry for intentionally cheating on you last month.”
There is a clear admission of wrongdoing by the husband. He regrets his actions and is promising not to repeat them. “I am sorry if you think I cheated on you last month,” is not a confession. There is neither admission of wrongdoing nor sign of regret. The husband is indirectly accusing the wife of wrongly accusing him.
ii. The promise of change
Repentance should include a promise of change from the old ways that hurt the offended to new ways that will foster a better relationship. Genuine repentance is not forced but the offender is convicted of his wrongful acts in his spirit and changes for the better.
A promise to change is neither done for the sake of it nor is one coerced to say it. It is purely willful from the offender.
iii. Implementation of the promise
A promise is not sufficient. It must be acted upon to complete the process of repentance. When you implement your promise, you indicate that you did not intend to wrong the other party and you mind their welfare.
You depart fully from your sin when you change your ways to new ones. It shows that you are remorseful for your actions and you will try as much as possible not to repeat them.
The Relationship Between Man and God
The relationship between God and man is founded on repentance because the latter is imperfect and often fails to attain the threshold of purity that God has put for him. Holiness is elusive for most people yet God says He is Holy and has nothing to do with sinners.
We build our relationship with God following the full process of repentance. God is loving and forgiving and He promises to forgive us when we genuinely repent and turn away from our sin.
God intended to have an eternal relationship with us but the devil introduced sin which made the relationship sour. The fall of man in creation got worse when Adam failed to ask for forgiveness from God for disobeying His instructions. Instead, he blamed his wife for giving him the fruit. Eve too was naïve of the power of forgiveness and she blamed the serpent for deceiving her.
The Power of Repentance
Repentance is a powerful weapon in the life of a Christian. Had Adam and Eve repented when they sinned, God would have been merciful on them and not kicked them out of Eden.
Sin made God wipe the whole earth with floods in the days of Noah. God told him to build the ark and ask the people to repent from their evil ways because their iniquity had reached God in heaven and He was displeased. They ignored Noah and mocked him even as he built the ark which he finally boarded with only his family.
The people were not remorseful of their sin and were too proud to repent before God that He would have mercy on them. God punished them and destroyed the whole earth with floods. Only eight people were saved.
Significance of Repentance
1. It builds new relationships
So powerful is repentance that new relationships can spring from it. Acknowledging your mistakes and showing remorse is a sign of humility that attracts both God and men. Everybody wants to be associated with such humility.
Humility will make you a role model that parents will give to their children. Strangers will love you for how you are quick to repent when you err.
2. It mends broken relationships
Broken and unhealthy relationships can be mended by a simple apology. There is no rocket science in reuniting with God or people you wronged.
You need to ask them for forgiveness make it up to them. When your repentance is genuine, they will forgive you and you would have won them over.
God searches the hearts of men to see if there is any malice or evil intention. He will forgive you when you repent genuinely like what the thief crucified alongside Jesus did. However, do not wait for the last minute before you repent. Although you will be forgiven, you may not recover fully from the consequences of your sin.
3. It attracts new promises
Repentance will attract new promises into your life. God will apportion to you the share of those in His fold. When you repent and turn away from sin, He will take you back as His child.
He promises a new life and a new beginning. Heaven rejoices at the repentance of a single sinner because the devil has lost and God has gained a soul.
Life After Repentance
Repentance leaves you a changed person because you will no longer be identified by your old ways but by your new ways. It marks the beginning of a new life and offers you fresh hope to march into the future.
When we abandon our old ungodly ways, we invite God to take charge moving forward. The devil loses his grip on us because he has nothing to condemn us for. Our changed ways separate us from him and his works.
In conclusion, repentance brings peace of heart above everything else. God gives us rest from the suffering we were undergoing initially. He marks us as His people that He has set free from shackles of sin.