As God speaks in the book of Hosea, He asks a question in Chapter 11 verse 5: "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent?"
But what does it mean to repent and what does it look like? Does it have characteristics?
"Truly being sorry, repentance, is going to hurt; it costs you something." L.P. on 2/3/17
There is a big difference between being sorry for what you've done and being sorry because you got caught. As a wise friend, JJ, quipped yesterday, "It is evident in our hashtag oriented society with #SorryNotSorry."
I don't know that any of us can adequately put what being sorry is into words. It's obvious that there is at least some desire to wish that we would have chosen differently. Initially it is marked by behavior that is adjusted and actions that are different. But in the long term, there should be evidence of its effect. Some type of fruit or fruitfulness as a result.
So then the questions that remain are why does it hurt and what does it cost us?
Repentance hurts because we can see that our choices have had a negative effect on ourselves and those we care about. We can determine that our actions have lead to consequences we perhaps didn't intend to happen or expect to be fully realized. It hurts because we see pain in the eyes of someone we would never deliberately hurt and understand that we are the cause of it. Repentance hurts because we become accutely aware of God's incredible love for us and the sacrifice He made to be with us, and we must acknowledge that we've done something that speaks the unspeakable......His love wasn't enough to make us not.
So then what does it cost us? Everything. It costs us our life. It forces us to accept that on our own we are capable of nothing. It is the absolute and undeniable realization that if we keep trying to hold on to our lives, we will unequivocally lose them.
I know this is heavy and hard. I know because I'm being faced with choices I am making and how I struggle with choosing differently. It's hard to turn from what you know because it's predictable. Regardless of whether or not it's good for you, fear of the unknown and what it might bring, is often more than enough to scare us into remaining the same.
But just like we wouldn't ask our kids to do something that would cause them harm, we know that God wouldn't ask us to give up something unless He knew something we don't. He always sees the big picture and He always has our best interest in mind. The only thing we have to decide is whether or not we are going to trust His judgement on what is keeping us bound up in our personal Egypt's or if we are going to let Him lead us into the Promised Land He has given us as an inheritance.
Jesus, we want to have repentant hearts but the thought of suffering is suffocating. Help us to grasp that your love which is wider, deeper, higher and more vast than we will ever comprehend, will be enough to see us through what you are asking us to do. Give us the smallest taste of what freedom that dependance on You is like so that we crave it more than we crave anything else. In Your redeeming and restoring name we pray, amen.