Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Freedom Through Repentance


Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
   therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
   to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
   for the salvation of the LORD. – Lamentations 3:22-26

There is something about this passage that really hits me hard. I’ve actually been reading it over and over again for the past several days. Finally I think I am starting to get it.


The book of Lamentations is such an interesting addition to the Bible. Israel and Judah have fallen because they fell away from God. The prophets tried to warn them to no avail. And now the people are crying out.

But in the midst of that crying out they wrote what is written above. They knew that if they sought God then they would be forgiven. He will come back to them when they go back to Him.

Have you ever hurt someone that you love in such a way that you didn’t think you could recover from it? That is NOT a good place to be. I wish I could tell you that if you repented and asked their forgiveness then they would forgive you; but it doesn’t work that way. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for people to give; and even if they do let it go after some time has passed, does that mean that they will allow for reconciliation?

Not necessarily.

This is why this whole relationship with God thing is so amazing to me. The notion that we can be forgiven, no matter what we do, is something that is beyond comprehension. Even many Christian folks don’t truly believe it. We have been taught that this forgiveness is available to us but because of shame and regret we hold ourselves in prisons of self punishment.

The truth is that we are already forgiven. Maybe the person that we have wronged has not forgiven us, and they may never forgive; but God has forgiven. He just asks that we do our best to come back when we have turned away and to make amends with those that we have wronged the best way that we can.

The other passage that I can’t seem to get away from is Matthew 5. Not coincidentally it contains this passage that brings the whole concept full circle:

 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-24

We have already been forgiven but we must act in that forgiveness. We need to do our best to turn toward whoever we have wronged and seek them out for reconciliation. Sometimes that is God; sometimes it is also another person.

Even if that person decides to turn you away, you can rest assured that God never will.

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