Repentance: A Painful Beauty For Every Christian

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We are the people called by his name. By the grace of God it is so. The ancient writer of the book of Chronicles is addressing the same reality that we face in our own time today. Oh, how often we forget our dependence on God and his love for us. And when we do, we find only sorrow and misery. Still God’s promise of mercy remains unbroken. Thanks be to God!

Here in this passage from Chronicles we are reminded of God’s infinite desire to forgive our sins. We are challenged never to forget that we are in a relationship with God. God offers us everything that his love for us can provide at all times. In any relationship, if we turn away from the love and generosity of a loved one, it is like a slap in their face. To turn away from the unconditional love and generosity of God utter foolishness. Yet we do it. And still God tells us, over and over again, if we humble ourselves, if we pray and seek his face again; if we willingly and consciously turn away from our wicked ways, he will hear our sorrow, the cries of our contrite hearts, and he will forgive our sins.

He also promises that if the people “who are called by his name” do this on a corporate level, that is, if a critical mass of we Christians recognized our own sins, in all of their variety and seriousness, and if we repented of them and turned away from them, and began loving one another as Jesus loved us, he would heal our land as well. Is not our land in need of great healing? This is his promise. How seriously do we take it? Is it not our duty in loving relationship with God, to give him thanks for his gracious and constant love for us by living in accord with his law of love?

The hard truth is that we Christians are not without sin. Our first duty is to look within and to repent of our own sins. But how often do we point the finger of judgment and accusation at the sins of other, while we are in the grip of our own sins? As Christians in this culture, we ought to be the ones who are humbling ourselves, praying and seeking God’s face first and foremost. We are the ones that ought to be modeling the virtue of turning away from anything that is wicked in our own lives. It is our Christian faith that we are called upon to live out openly, in the manner of Jesus Christ. After all, it is only through Christ that the world is saved. Let us give thanks to God for his generous mercy by repenting and turning back to him in all things. Our duty is to love, not to judge.

Lord, we who are called by your name ask that you give us the grace of humility so that we might pray and seek your face above all else. Help us to see and to turn away from anything evil in our own lives. In you we put our faith. In you is our hope. We give you thanks for your ever-forgiving love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

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