David Murray writes an excellent post on “How not to repent” based on the true life of a fallen, unrepentant pastor. I wanted to pick out a few common points David identifies that we are all prone to fall back on when our “sin finds us out” [Numbers 32:23] and how we often turn on the very ones that should be trying to restore us [Gal. 6:1].
- I’m no worse than anyone else. “OK, I’m not perfect, but neither are you. We all fall short. Only Christ is perfect.” In other words, why make such an example of me when you’re no better. Judge not…….
- You just don’t understand me: “My situation is unique and different then anyone else who has ever failed in this way”. Therefore, its just not as simple as you think. The old: “yes, I messed up, BUT…..”
- I wasn’t responsible; someone else was to blame. “I am the victim here. It’s not about what I chose to do [remember my situation is different] its about what THEY did to me.”
- And by the way, why are ya’ll so cruel and unforgiving? “Isn’t the bible supposed to be about grace, mercy and love? WWJD? Your just a bunch of legalizing Pharisees who are too busy with the sins of others”.
David concludes this way:
Real repentance looks and sounds radically different. It says: “I’m worse than you, worse than you think, and did worse than you can imagine. No matter what was in my past, I deliberately chose [James 1:14-115] these sinful actions and accept full responsibility for them. I deserve whatever consequences result from them. I shamed my Lord and His church. If some Christians treat me badly, that’s OK, I understand. I can’t and won’t complain. I won’t say or write anything that will portray the Church or Christians in a bad light. I’ve brought enough damage on the church already.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Cor. 7:10
How often do we let “self preservation” take the place of “gospel restoration”?