(Hey there! This is the 2nd part to step 2, “Remorse,” in my 4 R’s to True Repentance Series, so I recommend you check out “Remorse, part 1” first: click me!)
“I miss him.”
Sob. Sneeze. Cry.
“I enjoyed playing with him, and he cared for us… so much.”
I am positively sure that 7-year-old me sobbing openly into a mic in front of a crowd of stunned adults at my grandfather’s funeral was not a pretty sight to see… And it must have felt horrible, that is, if I could even remember giving that emotionally-charged eulogy. A while back, my father told me the story of 7-year-old Eunice declaring she missed her grandfather and costing the audience a couple of tears as a result. I do not recollect standing there, speaking my mind and tearing up. But what I do recollect is the closeness that knit our family together that day. It was the first day in my life when I felt deep, deep sadness—a sadness that compelled me to cling onto my father, my mother, my sister, and my grandmother even more. The remorse I felt made me treasure the loved ones around me.
Grief draws us closer to the one we love.
Quick recap of the last article:
#1 is INTERNAL.
#2 mourns over the ROOT of sin, not punishments/consequences that come with getting caught
Today, we will examine the last two characteristics of godly remorse:
#3 Godly remorse will draw you CLOSER TO GOD.
Do you remember when the Israelites were bitten by venomous snakes? The only way for them to be saved from death was to turn their eyes to the bronze serpent and believe that would heal them. In the same way, when we feel the pain of guilt because of the sin we have committed, things will only change when we turn our eyes to Christ. If you think about it, sin is the breaking of the relationship between God and man, as seen in Genesis when Adam and Eve disobeyed Him. If our heart is truly grieved about this scarred relationship, we will naturally want to restore it. The remorse we feel over our sinful heart will turn us toward God, not deeper into depression. If there was just one indicator for godly remorse that completely distinguishes it from ungodly remorse, it would be that godly remorse pushes us to long for a closer relationship with God and seek Him through His Word and prayer—which brings me back to my point that grief draws us closer to the one we love. I have been asking myself this: do I truly love God? Does He take first place in my heart? Recently, I have realized that whenever I feel sorry for myself when I make a mistake, the one taking first place in my heart is me, not my need to get right with God. If I was focused on getting right with God, I would search the Bible, seek godly mentors, and have a prayerful attitude of seeking God in my daily life. It is all a matter of the heart.
Ask yourself: Do I pity myself or want to make things right with God? What does this say about my motives and priorities? Do I trust in God that He has the power to completely transform my sinful desires? Think about it. When you have doubts about whether you will be able to change for the better, is the one you are distrusting really yourself or is it actually God?
Hebrews 11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Draw near to God, and trust that He can mold and transform your repentant, broken spirit into a spirit that is whole and covered by His imputed righteousness.
#4 Godly remorse will drive you toward ACTIVE CHANGE.
Psalm 51:8-12 says, “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (ESV). A cracked pot (pun intended) yearns for its potter to patch it up, remold it, cleanse it, and redesign it. That is the essence of godly remorse. Healthy remorse over sin makes a person desire to be in God’s presence more and more. Sure, it may break the heart temporarily but it ultimately strengthens your faith. 2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (ESV). After betraying Jesus, Judas Iscariot hanged himself out of grief. He was experiencing worldly sorrow. On the other hand, the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable quickly got up and ran back home to his father. He was not driven toward death but toward reconciliation and restoration! Which path will you choose?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! Look out for my next article coming out next month about the next R’s, “response” and “restoration.”
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