We often view repentance as a stuffy obligation. It is sort of like coming to your parents and admitting you did something wrong. Our immature perspectives view repentance as the act of voluntarily getting in trouble. Or, we view repentance as an apology we may or may not mean. Something we are required to do because it is the right thing to do, not because we want to.
But repentance is more valuable than obligation. It is more beautiful.
When we repent, we turn from our own destruction. We turn to life, rest, refreshment.
As we are marching down a destructive path, it can feel like all there is. We “have” to serve our appetites, we “have” to be busy or chase money or prove ourselves. We “have” to manipulate others to make sure the right outcomes fall into place. We are careening toward a cliff and the thing we do not realize is that our own sinful nature is the stuffy obligation. Repentance is freedom. It is not the punishment; it is the reward.
When we turn away from sin, it is not turning away from fun. There is abundant joy in the gospel. What we are turning away from is deceit and hopelessness.
Repentance hurts in the same way pulling off a Band-Aid hurts. But our wounds need to be exposed. If our sin is not revealed, it will fester and grow. The coolness of God’s grace brings healing and relief.
God asks us to repent not just to try to control us. He invites us to repent as a mechanism for experiencing our own good. Don’t drive off the cliff. Turn, and be refreshed.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
– Acts 3:19