Monday, August 29, 2011

Dirty Church Words - Repent

"Repent" is one of those words that makes us think about street preachers yelling at us as we walk down a busy street or people who become obsessed with Apocalyptic themes. It is not a word that we tend to hear a lot in other situations, even if we are "regular" church-goers.

The word "repent" however is actually a great word. It means to 'turn around'. As in 'turn around" and move away from those things that are taking you away from your relationship with God. Last week we talked about how sin is really anything that takes us off the path that we are on towards God. When we 'repent', we get back on the path. It is more than just asking for forgiveness. It is making a move to not only admit that you are sinning, but to take measures to move away from things that lead you to that particular sin. When we repent, we admit we are doing something that is wrong and make changes in our lives to avoid that sin again.

Many of us have 'secret sins'. Sins that we are too ashamed of to admit to others and sometimes that we are too ashamed of to confess even to God. God, already knows what things we do in our hearts or in secret. We are not hiding anything from Him. Often, those closest to us know those things that tempt us away from God as well. Trying to complete the full cycle of repentance alone - not just asking forgiveness but taking action to avoid that sin in the future - can be very difficult.

Without repentance, however, we cannot be fully healed from our sin. We need to turn around and get back on our journey with God. Finding people who you can trust to help you do this is important. We don't take the journey alone - that is why the Church is so important. We have been given companions on our journey to help us along the way. Ask for God to show you who you can trust to help you. Ask them to check in with you to help keep you accountable.

God does not want us to be so aware of our sinfulness that we are despondant. He wants us to be so aware of his grace and mercy that we are joyful in our response to Him. God wants us to let go of those things that separate us from Him on our journeys - not hang onto them and wallow.

Let them go. Turn around and face God and start walking on the path He has laid before you once again.


18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

- Micah 7:18-19