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David saw his sin only against God. Think of all the people who were hurt. Yet it was against God that he sinned! True repentance. #lentenseason #repentence


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I wonder if part of the problem with repentance starts in our childhood when we tell people we are sorry for what we did. Often, if it is under duress. We aren’t allowed to go back to our playing unless we say, “I’m sorry.” I’m not sure how often we really are sorry for what we did except for the interruption it causes to our life in terms of play or unpleasantness. Later on, we often get caught and have to go apologize for what we did. But even then, it is not because we are truly sorry for what we did. Or if we are actually sorry, it may be for the fact that we got caught for the infraction. Or maybe, if we actually took the time to reflect, we are actually sorry that we caused another person sadness or pain.

How did we learn to be sorry for sin, or not?

However, my experience growing up was most often that of blame shifting by the adults around me. I learned well from their example. Frequently, the blame shifting was to the smallest people in the room which happened to be the children. Ugh! But the other kind of blame  shifting was to things like tiredness, hunger, stress, etc. None of which was the actual cause of the problem. The true problem was that each of those thing had revealed the problem that was already there, long before the stress or weariness or hunger hit. The problem was the heart of the person who had caused the offense. I was an adult when that was pointed out to me. Frankly, I didn’t accept it joyfully either. It took awhile for me to realize how true it was.

So often our focus is on ourselves when it comes to repentance or the lack of it. Or even our unwillingness to repent of certain actions or attitudes. We focus more on the inconvenience or on our good days, the pain we caused someone else by our sin, But the truth is that our sin is treason against a holy God. Frequently, in the Old Testament, God describes it as adultery against Him. Think of the many ways adultery breaks trust against the person you have promised to love.

Repentance has nothing to do with how “serious” the sin is but how responsive we are to God’s pursuit of us

Yet David’s sin, as heinous as it was, was not seen simply for the sin against those people, but for the seriousness of his sin against God. One thing that set David apart from Saul was that he was much more aware of His sin against God even though he was fully aware of how horribly he had sinned against his close friend and his wife. David knew that ultimately, his sin was against God!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

Psalm 51:3-4 ESV

I recently heard it said  “All sin is against God and until we repent for our sin against Him, we haven’t truly repented.” ({Paige Benton Brown) We often focus so much on either the “seriousness” of the sin or the human toll our sin has taken that we forget that ultimately, our sin has been against a holy God.

Do I grieve how offensive my sin has been against God?

I find this very convicting. Yes, on an intellectual level, I know my sin is ultimately against God. But does my sin against Him cause me grief as it did for David? Not often, I’m sad to say. I find myself my more often sad over the results of my sin against a person I have hurt because of the pain I caused them or even the inconvenience of intrusion into my life of the misery. But am I grieved over my sin against God? Not often.

How often are we happy to accept God’s grace, but not the other aspects of what it means to be prat of His family?

As I think about it, I realize how happy I am to come to Christ for forgiveness and join His family. I want all the gifts and free things. I want the gift of salvation. But do I want to accept all that it means to be part of the family? Do I want to pick up the cross daily and follow Jesus? Do I want to deny myself and live for others? Do I want to be part of this upside down kingdom I have been studying about this year in Luke?

Some days I do. Others, I struggle. I’m sure you do too. May God have mercy on us as we move forward to accept His whole gift of salvation.

Has my heart become hardened by sadness and grief and self-centeredness? Have I become overwhelmed with needs all around me that nothing touches me anymore? Do I need to get in touch with heart of flesh that God has given me as a believer and ask Him to make me more tender to my offenses to Him?