The Repentant Heart
We’ve all heard someone offer a public apology that seems less than sincere. Usually it begins with “I’m sorry if anyone was offended by my comments”, and is followed by an explanation of why the one apologizing was right and the offended party is the real problem.
But God calls us to a higher standard; not to offer a perfunctory apology for the sake of damage control, but to repent. The proud heart fears only the consequences of its mistakes, but the repentant heart grieves over the damage that has been done and the relationships that have been broken by sin. The proud heart gets defensive when called out, shifts the blame, and points to the sin in others’ lives, but the repentant heart takes responsibility, even when it too has been sinned against. The proud heart tries to move past an uncomfortable situation as quickly as possible, but the repentant heart keeps digging at the root of sin so that nothing will stand in the way of restoration.
All of us have been alienated from God through our sin. But when we repent toward God and put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are reconciled to God and we receive new life. If we have humbled ourselves before God in repentance, how can pride rule in our relationships with others? God wants to see the work he has done in reconciling us to Himself manifest itself in reconciliation between people. Jesus put a high priority on reconciliation in the Sermon on the Mount, saying “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
God is all about reconciliation, and reconciliation begins with repentance. “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). As you prepare to bring your offering of worship to God this week, how can you be practicing repentance in your life?
Joe Selness, Contemporary Worship Leader