Thursday, April 21, 2011

Repentance vs. Remorse

ODB: "Moving Past Sinful Failure" (21 April, 2 Sam 12:1-23)

2 Sam 12:22-23 He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."

David accepted the consequences of his sins of adultery & murder as pronounced by the prophet Nathan. The baby conceived out of David's sin with Bathsheba would die. While the baby was alive, David fasted and prayed. But once news came that the baby was dead, he got up, washed up and ate food. This surprised his servants and David's reply was quoted above.

David demonstrated repentance but not remorse. In repentance, we acknowledge our actions are wrong and seek God's forgiveness. We also accept the consequences of our actions. However, we do not spend our days regretting the mistakes - that is remorse, not repentance. Remorse can destroy our effectiveness and usefulness for God. Once we have repented, received God's forgiveness, and accepted the consequences of the action, we must learn to move on, resolving not to repeat the same sins again.

Repentance leads to freedom to obey again. Remorse on the other hand cripples us and leaves us self-absorbed and useless to do God's work again.

Father, we thank You that when You forgive, You also cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We can stand in complete purity, without any guilt or condemnation, for Christ has taken upon himself all our sins, guilt and condemnation. Amen.