There’s a prayer I’ve been praying, one that I didn’t write, and there’s a part of that prayer where I ask God for “a deep and true repentance”. Each time I pray that prayer I wonder what that means and how I’ll know it when I see it. Besides that, self-forgiveness has been a bit of a theme recently on this blog and I think that’s been true for a reason. Forgiveness and repentance… repentance and forgiveness… two topics that have swirled around inside me lately like dried up leaves on a windy day. I know God is working on me in all of that. He has a persistent way of reminding me of things.
Have you ever learned something you thought you understood but later found out what you knew was superficial? Forgiveness and repentance, it seems, like ogres and onions, have layers.
I messed up last month and did something I would give almost anything to undo. In my life I’ve done quite a lot of things I regret, and have had many chances to repent. This time feels different. Something has changed and my sin feels different than it ever has to me because my understanding of sin is fresh. Many times in the past I have sinned, felt regret, said the magic words, asked for forgiveness, and resolved never to do it again. This time feels like the first time in all of that I haven’t also on some level made an excuse for myself. There is no excuse. I sinned by choice. I am completely at the mercy of God. And it’s slowly sinking in to me that I have been all along.
Pride doesn’t want grace. Pride can’t admit it’s necessary. Pride makes excuses rather than forgives. You can’t forgive yourself without admitting you stand in need of real forgiveness. It requires a lot of humility to peel back the layers of the heart and let God in to do His redemptive work. My pride has gotten in the way for too long. Thank God for His patience with me.