Posts Tagged ‘repentance’

Please don’t look to politicians for answers.  They were not responsible for the blessings in this nation.  And they are certainly not anymore responsible for its problems or darkness than anyone else.  Washington DC is just a microcosm of America. (Gosh darn it, who elected them scumbags anyway?!)

The blessings that this nation has experienced are from outpourings of Grace — outpourings that have periodically happened throughout the history of our nation.  And they can happen again…or not.

“…if My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)


If my people will pray - LOON WATCHMAN BLOG

“Well, ya got trouble, my friends!
Right here, I say, trouble right here in River City!”
(From The Music Man — an old “boomer” reference — you may not get it — heh heh)

Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”  (1 Kings 18:16-17)

Well, OK — it’s clear that there are different ways of being troubled. The devil is a con artist, and he and his bad boys can definitely trouble us. But according to the Scriptures, God is sometimes in the “troubling business” as well.

So…here we are in the groovy season of Lent — a perfect time to be troubled by God.  Yahweh’s brand of Trouble is meant to move us to repentance. And Jesus definitely didn’t avoid saying troubling things like:

  • Forgive others or you won’t be forgiven! (Matthew 6:15)
  • Calling Him Lord (talking the talk) is not enough — we actually have to do what He says (walking the walk), or we will miss out on Heaven! (Matthew 7:21)
  • You must deny your own self-interests and seek to build God’s Kingdom first if you want to be His disciple. (Luke 9:23, Matthew 6:33)

Being troubled is never pleasant — but better to be troubled now and respond rightly (via repentance and obedience) than to be tragically troubled later…

The English language, like all languages, is a living, ever-evolving thing.  Words that meant one thing 100 years ago now sometimes mean something very different.  For instance, originally, the word artificial meant “full of artistic or technical skill.”  But today, it has a very negative meaning and usage.  And back in the day, the word awful meant something “wonderful, amazing and full of awe.”  Now…not so much.

I have lived long enough to see an interesting evolution of the word guilt (in the world and in the Church).  There has been a concerted effort in secular psychology for years to essentially eliminate guilt from the human experience.  Secular humanists associate guilt (and the sorrow associated with it) with archaic and manipulative religions and philosophies.  And because of this, there has been a tremendous effort to “cast off restraint” and enter into true, guiltless, utopian existence (WOOHOO!), where everyone is free to do as he/she pleases, without the shackles and burdens of “old time religion.”

I have seen this in the Church as well.  I periodically hear Christian teachers and counselors say that we don’t need to be weighed down by such things as feelings of guilt or sorrow for our sins, because God is a loving God and all He wants is for us to be happy.  And that the path to repentance can be a guilt-free, sorrowless process where we merely realize we have done things that are “beneath our potential” and therefore we need to make better choices.

The problem with this is two-fold:

First of all, we are not machines, we are human beings, and we are hardwired with emotions.  God has emotions and He made us to be emotional beings as well.  Emotions are meant to make us more like God in this sense, and experienced rightly, they bring an amazing pleasure and irreplaceable depth to life.  And emotions are also, at times, a very useful indicator that attach themselves to bad, sinful choices, so that we will be motivated to change.  For instance, when I hurt my wife, I don’t repent or ask her for forgiveness merely because I know that these things will lead to a more healthy marriage (although they will).  I do it because I love my wife, and it grieves me to see how my actions and selfishness have hurt her.  And so these feelings of guilt and sorrow are essential to real love continuing in my marriage.

The second (and most important) problem is that this concept (that feelings of guilt are to be avoided) clearly contradicts the teaching of Scripture:  “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)  The key is that we need to have “Godly sorrow”, not “worldly sorrow”.  Godly sorrow is connected to three things (IMHO):

  1. The conviction of the Holy Spirit.
  2. An awareness that we are the only one truly responsible (and hence, guilty – doah!) for the sinful thing we did (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  3. The truth that the damage done and pain inflicted by our sinful behavior is not an abstract experience, but is something we have done against real people (including God – Ephesians 4:30 – “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…”).

And when we really receive the conviction of the Holy Spirit, admit our responsibility, and tell our best Friend that we are truly sorry, and that, by His amazing grace, we will turn away from our sin and follow Him, then guilt and Godly sorrow will have had their perfect way with us and we will be free to once again worship God in the “beauty of holiness”, without feelings of condemnation.