It is amazing how new our perspective of God becomes once we have children of our own, and begin raising them.
The other day, I was praying and asked God to forgive me for a sin—a sin that I tend to repeat time and time again. So I found myself again praying and saying “Sorry” for the same mistake. And in the back of my head, clear as a bell, I could hear my own voice saying the following all-too-often statement to my children: “Sorry doesn’t mean anything if you keep doing it.’
Funny, how your own words can turn out to be so convicting when they are turned against you.
When I think about my own virtues—and vices—I see that when it comes to vices, we have a tendency to go all-too-easily to “I’m sorry” when we really are anything but sorry. God will forgive every sin—I truly believe that—but that does not mean that you truly repented. Repentance implies that you have turned from your old ways of doing things; or, at the very least, you make an effort to do so!
The Lord knows we will never be perfect; indeed, that is kind of the entire point of the whole “grace” thing. It is not your actions—neither your positive works nor your negative sins—that justify you before God. But that does not mean that it is wise to just keep on sinning. As we discussed in our last post, it is the adding of virtue to our faith which is the first step toward fruitfulness. (Not love and acceptance: you already have that, and had it 2,000 years before you were born! I am talking about being fruitful and doing God’s work in grace and freedom, not under law and obligation.)
So before you pray to God with yet another half-hearted apology, stop and think for a moment. Are you truly sorry? Do you intend to stop doing it? How? Pray to God for forgiveness for the sins committed and the power to avoid the same temptations and sins in the future.