“Resentment kills a fool,
and envy slays the simple...
“Blessed is the [person] whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”
~Job 5:2, 17 (NIV modified).
REPENTANCE. It’s a deep and meaningful word; a world away from the non-Christian but inherently part of the Christian’s way—if they’re genuine about their relationship with God.
When we walk with God, and we walk humbly and in step with him (Micah 6:8), we find that he disciplines us in some very bizarre, and at times, unpalatable ways. Indeed the very nature of life is that it’s a broad “disciplining” process, designed—with God’s help—to knock off those rough edges we all have. Central to our relationship with God, and our growth, is repentance.
We cannot engage with God or truly succeed in life without a repentant heart—one that continues, time and again, to go back to God, turning and returning ever more. If we didn’t turn or return we’d be backsliders, right?
This is an exercise of spiritual resilience.
Job, of course, was perfectly qualified to whinge and shake his fist at God, if ever there was such a justified action. The truth is God can and easily does endure our fist-shaking, and he does this very well. He’s not too bothered, I expect—so long as we repent of the action. And if there’s one book that confuses most of us the most, certainly as far as repentance is concerned, it’s Job.
But it’s clear in Job that God’s ways are so far beyond ours. To get angry, envious or resentful about life or God’s “apparent” role in our sordid affairs is at best a folly and at worst a divine judging of ourselves. It defies spiritual logic.
The boiled down reality is this. The person who humbly accepts everything that occurs to them, not without temptation or occasional cause of complaint, is very blessed of God, for they concur that whatever life brings against them, that it can be borne and endured, and that God can and will make the best out of it, for them (Romans 8:28). This value of repentance speaks mostly of hope—that thing that holds out patiently in faith.
Repentance is about character; enough to take on the chin whatever might come our way.
And sure, we’ll have a bad day here and there, and we’ll do things we feel at the time are unforgivable, but the truth is if we last the distance by coming back to God, he is faithful and he’ll make things better for us, eventually.
Repentance is actually about peace with God, and therefore, life.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.