I Said “I’m Sorry” Isn’t that Good Enough?
Whenever we get into a fight with someone we love we might go back to our loved one and say, "I'm sorry." Here's a good question, is saying your sorry for your mistake good enough?
For some people, saying “sorry” is enough, but for others what they really want from that person who has offended them is repentance.
What is the difference between repentance and saying you are sorry?
Repentance means to change your mind and to turn away from sin and to turn to God. However, feeling sorry for your mistakes does not mean you have made a decision to change your behavior -you just have feelings of regret over your mistake.
Think about it this way, a person who repents is sorry for their mistake, but a person who is sorry for their mistake hasn’t necessarily repented of their sin.
For example, for the person who says I no longer want to be addicted to drugs and turns away from it, he/she has repented from drugs. But for the person who gets high one day, does not get high the next day, but then in a week gets high on drugs again this is not repentance. Repentance means you stop doing the wrong behavior because you have changed your mind and now your renewed mind is manifested in your actions.
In our Christian walk with God, he calls us to repent, not to feel sorry over our sin. Otherwise we will remain stuck in our sin and not experience the freedom God calls us to.
A great story about a group of people who repented of their sin is found in Jonah 3. The Ninevites, were evil people. The prophet Nahum tell us that the Ninevite people did evil plots against God (Nah 1:9), exploited the weak (Na 2: 12), was cruel in war (Nah 2: 12), and practiced idolatry, prostitution, and witchcraft (Nah 3: 4).
Jonah, another prophet, was called to preach to the Ninevites to turn from their evil ways. In Jonah 3, Jonah preaches the word and the Bible says the Ninevites took Jonah seriously. In fact their repentance takes on six behaviours.
Firstly, the Ninevites believed God (v 5). When the Ninevites heard that they were sinners and learned that destruction was coming they didn’t argue with Jonah nor did they make a case and try to justify their sin. The Ninevites simply believed God. We also need to have the same attitude in our walk with God. When God confronts us of our sin through his word, a sermon, a devotional, a blog we need to believe him. We might make the mistake and say, “Well God I know what your word says but I can’t follow it because ______." Then we make excuses to God and justify our sin. We can't keep justifying why we lie, or steal, or mistreat others. We need to remember that God’s word is true and we need to believe it and trust it. Repentance means we believe God.
Secondly, the Ninevites fasted (v 5). The Ninevites fasted because they were serious about change. The Ninevites wanted God to see that they were not taking his warning lightly. What about you? When God calls you to change a behavior in your life how do you show to God that you are serious? Repentance means we are serious about sin.
Thirdly, the Bible says that from the least to the greatest fasted (v 5). This means everyone repented. This was not the rich people live their life and the poor people repent. Or the young people have fun and the older people repent. This was EVERYONE repented of their sins. In our own life, both spouses in a marriage, everyone in a family, the entire church, a community, and the world needs to repent. God calls all of us to repent. Repentance means all of us need to change.
Fourthly, the Ninevites put on a sackcloth on themselves and their animals (v 5, 6, and 8). A sackcloth was a cloth made of goats hair. They took of their normal clothes and put on the sackcloth to show they were rejecting earthly pleasures and comforts. It was also to denote that they were mourning.
When we have sinned and we are convicted of our sin there needs to be a period of mourning and grieving. God needs to see that we are serious about the fact that we are sinners. Repentance means we need to have godly sorrow. 2 Cor 7: 10 says, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." Sin is not something that we should be boasting about, our mood should be, "I have sinned Lord" and we need to enter a season of mourning and grieving. Repentance means we feel sorrow over our sin.
Fifthly, the king of Nineveh called his people to give up their evil ways (v 8). Nineveh was guilty of many sins. What about you? What sins are God calling you to give up? Is it lying? Stealing, Sexual purity? Envy? Malice? Unforgiveness? Whatever it is repentance means we give up our evil ways.
Finally, they called urgently on God (v 8). When we repent of our sins we need to call to God and tell him “Lord, I confess my sin to you. I need your help. Will you help me to surrender to you and walk according to the Holy Spirit and not my flesh?" Repentance means we call on God.
What happened when the Ninevites repented of their sin? The Bible says God showed them mercy and grace. Jonah 3:10 says the following:
"When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened."
This is so key to our walk with God. Remember that Jonah told the Nineveites that disaster was coming, but because the Ninevites repented of their sin, God no longer brought the destruction.
Perhaps we have missed God’s blessings or we have had to endure hard things in life because we have chosen to sin versus repent.
Maybe just maybe, trouble, pain, and destruction would have been eliminated in our life had we followed God and repented of our sin.
This story reminds us of the power of repentance. The Ninevites were convicted of their sin, repented of their sin, and the disaster that God planned for them was removed because they made a choice to change.
What are the things in your life that you need to make right with God, repent of it, and change your mind so that you will see change in your life?
The good news is it’s not to late you can do it TODAY. God is waiting and He is ready to forgive and show us love.
All we have to do is make the choice to repent.
Father I repent of ____________ (pray about what you need to repent). I do not want to have remorse over my sin but I want to repent. Help me to change my mind about this matter so that I can change my behavior. My desire is to honour and imitate to you. By the power of the Holy Spirit I believe that I can overcome my temptations and live a holy and pleasing life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
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