“Repentance Is Not a Bad Word”
This is part three of a five-part series called “Essentials of Healing.”
One of the best ways to fight and ultimately win against a disease is early detection. It’s when a person either goes to the doctor for a routine checkup or when some discomfort in their body is the influence that leads them to the doctor’s office. Just going to the doctor’s office is an acknowledgement in itself that something is not right. Some people (like myself) do not like the doctor visits and sometimes choose to put their heads in the sand and stay in denial. If by chance the doctor finds something wrong in the body the patient should make a decision to agree to receive medical attention for the purpose of healing, They should also receive advice on how to stay away from what may have gotten them to this point in the first place in order to sustain the healing. However, I’m fully aware that some illnesses are out of a person’s control. This change is a kind of “turning away from” unhealthy choices.
I use this illustration because it is the same with us when we need healing physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. Repentance, often thought of as a bad word that makes people cringe at its suggestion, is the grace God offers us to initiate healing in our lives. Love sets the tone for receiving truth. Truth, when received, leads to repentance. Repentance, according to 1 Corinthians 7:10, leads to salvation or healing.
Many people live in denial. They refuse to acknowledge that decisions they make play a major role in the condition of their relationships, finances, health, etc. I often say, “Where I am today, good or bad, is the sum total of decisions I’ve made up to this point.” Yes, there are things that happen to me that are outside of my control, but there are many things that have been because of my own poor choices. I can play the victim and deflect all responsibility on someone or something else, or I can pray a very scary prayer and begin to take ownership of my poor, sinful, selfish decisions and repent of them. In other words, confess and turn away from the thinking and desires that led me to make those decisions in the first place. Of course God is the one who determines (through Scripture) what is a poor decision or one that will bring blessings upon our lives honoring him in the process. Here is the prayer taken right out of Psalm 139:23,24, “Search me O God and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me to the way everlasting.”
Wow! Do I really want to pray that prayer? It is giving God full permission to reveal the sin in me to me. It is saying that I want to know what is really in me that need to change. It is also suggesting that the “way everlasting” is through the corridor of confession and repentance. Acknowledging and making a U-turn from what I’ve been engaging in. Not everyone wants to open that door.
We were never meant to carry the burden of sin or the effects that come with it. That’s what Jesus died for. Furthermore, we were never meant to live apart from fellowship with God, that’s what sin does, break our fellowship or relationship with God. Healing is found in this relationship. I’m talking about a permanent inner healing of the soul, the mind, and spirit of a man/woman. All other healing flows out of that. Of course we can get temporary healing of the body and mind, but only the one who created us can permanently heal the soul.
Repentance isn’t a bad word; it’s actually a beautiful thing. It’s God with his arms open wide whenever we decide to respond to his grace, trust him and turn away from some things or people that are unhealthy or even flat out sinful in our lives, and actually turn back to him and his love. We all have some “prodigal son” in us if we tell the truth. God is fully aware of that and fully capable of handling what we bring to him.
I can’t tell you how much weight is removed from my heart when I finally come to the place of agreeing with God that there is an issue I need to repent of. There is a peace that follows. I remember the day I admitted that I was prideful. The time I confessed the lust in my heart. The year I admitted to having bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart towards someone in my life. The moment I realized I had made a woman in my life a sort of god whom I got my joy and peace from. She had taken Jesus’ place for a short period. The day I confessed that, I felt this peace and joy in my inner being that I really can’t explain with words. Repentance (confession and turning away, making a U-turn) became a discipline in my life and I am no longer afraid to admit things to God or even to others close to me when appropriate. I learned that God could handle it. He wanted me to bring those things to him in prayer similar to the above-mentioned Psalm 139:23,24. I can hear him saying, “Just put it down and walk away.”
Don’t worry; repentance is not a bad word! It’s where the healing begins.