Admitting we are wrong is tough business. As someone who’s followed Jesus for nearly 17 years, realizing I have blind spots of self-reliance and self-righteousness is no easy truth to swallow. Part of me (a big part) wants to be a perfect daughter for my perfect Heavenly Father. One of Jesus’ messages to His followers was to repent because God created us to be in relationship with Him and unrepentant sin has a way of fogging up our view of God. He desires our sinful selves to be so near to His Holy Self that he allows us to say we’re sorry…and accepts our Jesus covered apologies so that we “by the help of our God, return.” (Hosea 12:6). God doesn’t ask us to repent because he’s cruel, or unjust, or unloving but because He is our perfect parent. One who is for not only our salvation, but also for our sanctification (us becoming more like Jesus). A parent who loves us enough to want our freedom instead of complacency, our joy instead of sorrow, our trust instead of fearful control.
Like the children we are (no matter our actual age or spiritual maturity) we run hard from truth that may hurt, we hide evidence of the leftover cookie crumbs of sin, we ask for a Band-Aid to cover our wounds when what we really need is surgery for our souls. We are desperate for our God who loves us enough to send obstacles to slow our frantic pace, says that it’s ok to sweep our messy sins right up to his throne, and isn’t afraid to rip the Band-Aid off when necessary.
Mark 1:15 says, “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” Repenting is God’s way of admitting we’re wrong and literally turning away from our sin. But because God parents his children in perfect love he doesn’t stop there. Our Father is FOR OUR FREEDOM. When he asks us to turn away from something, it’s because he has something eternally better in mind. Thankfully we don’t have to wait an eternity to experience his promises. When we come before God and admit and apologize (two words I use with my own daughters often), God begins the hard work with us of clearing out the clutter of our souls to make space for his kingdom. One of God’s love languages is giving good gifts. They’re the type of gifts you’ll never need to keep the receipt for because there’s no such thing as refunds or exchanges. Perfect Love knows the exact size of your need and the specific quantity of gift necessary to fill your deepest, truest desires…peace, love, joy, mercy, forgiveness, meekness, faith, hope…It’s never too much and never too little. God is good, his gifts are real, they’re available right now, and they’re so much lighter than any pre-repentant load we could ever carry.