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Repentence + Forgiveness = Reconciliation
While the offended forgives, the offender repents. This is the only way to fully reconcile a relationship. Repentence does involve behavior change, but it must include more to be genuine. True repentence is an inward act by which we open our heart to God, so God can change it. A person can say, “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” But, it could be only, “I’m sorry I got caught.” There is a difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
The Pain of an Inward Look
Looking inward is a necessary but uncomfortable part of repentence. Pride that shields our heart must be confronted and broken. Genuine repentence will result in us wanting to be good, not only acting good. We cannot be good on our own, but this is where God’s grace is needed. God is faithful to us to bring about circumstances that are intense enough to dismantle our defenses. And He does this in a way that preserves us – so we remain in relationship. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted…”
Truly it is an evil to be full of faults, but it is a still greater evil to be full of them, and be unwilling to recognize them.
– Blaise Pascal
Christ accepts us as we are, but when He accepts us, we cannot remain as we are.
– Walter Tobisch
The stance of openness to receive is what I call the “catch” to grace. It must be received, and the Christian term for that act is repentence, the doorway to grace.
– Phillip Yancy
Book – Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall
– provides a comprehensive explanation of what forgiveness is and what it is not
Book – What’s So Amazing About Grace by Phillip Yancy
– provides a compeling case for no strings attached forgiveness
Prayer (Psalm 51:1-6)
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Is there anything you need to bring to God so He can clean your heart?
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.