“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
I recently read an article in a popular Christian magazine. It had a familiar theme to it; man cheats on wife, wife finds out the ‘other woman’ was her best friend. Being that this publication usually is on the “straight and narrow”, I assumed this piece would be overflowing with scripture reference and a dissertation on the power of repentance. Nope, not even close. I read the article three times and now four times as I am writing this blog. Repentance is not even mentioned. Counseling, talking with friends and the husband and wife talking things out are the main subject areas, but nothing of repentance.
“Recovery is hard work that requires to willing hearts” is one of the subtitles in the article. I have no argument with that. But what about Christ? Once the man confessed to his wife that this affair had been going on for three years, he writes, “Yet, aside from my guilt and the pain of seeing my wife suffer, I was experiencing freedom for the first time in ages.” In this article, he wrote that he confessed to his pastor and that he cut off all contact with his affair partner. But nothing about his repentance with God. He continues “No longer living a lie, I could once again spend time with God and enjoy His presence.”
Maybe I have this wrong, but are we not to go to the Father and repent of our sins? Yes, of course we must go to those we have sinned against, but is that repentance before God? If you have experienced repentance as I have before God, it is a complete “turning away” from that sin; you just don’t want to go back to that sinful state again. I have met men who have committed adultery and did not repent,and ended up repeating their adulterous lifestyle all over again.
I once met a man that hit his wife. It had been 25 years later, but he told me he still hurt after that event; that is, until he repented to the Lord. Soon he was looking at his wife with love and not continuously recalling the event of over three decades ago.
With infidelity running amok these days, marriage restoration is keeping many counselor’s, pastors and others very busy.This particular couple now offers counseling on this topic and you can ask them questions on line and buy their book! Again, nothing about prayer, nothing about repentance. It was all about the man and securing the forgiveness of his wife and pastor and nothing about a repented heart.
I thought this sermon excerpt from a pastor Eli Brayley was on topic:
“My contention is that repentance does not mean ‘stop sinning’. By saying that, I do not mean that repentance has nothing at all to do with sin… of course it does. The Greek word for repentance is metaneo which means to change one’s mind. A Biblical definition would be to feel true remorse over one’s sins. This certainly includes the will not to sin again. However, the will to not want to sin again does not necessarily equal not sinning again. I certainly do not want to sin again, but will I probably sin in the future? Yes. Am I thus impenitent? No. My response to future sins also reveals my repentant heart.” (Eli Brayley)