“ ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!’”
My coffee is not what I ordered. I’m not correcting the error because I need to save every ounce of energy I have for confrontation for people closer to my heart. Pretty screwed up, eh?
Repentance is a gift and a response to God’s grace. He gives a new heart to those He chooses, convicts by His Spirit. My part is to turn, to Him and away from darkness. I can’t face both ways, can’t love both. I don’t pretend to understand all that God has revealed about Himself through Scripture, and I dare not have the arrogance to add to or amend what I do understand. But I know what it means to love, and even if I were willing to forgive endlessly, that willingness would not make me able to have a loving, growing relationship with someone who was choosing another lover over me, or who was trying to love us both.
I can’t give myself the gift of repentance any more than I can give myself a new heart. Nor can I give it to anyone else. It’s His sovereign work. It is so precious, however, that I desperately need and desire it, and it is something specific I can seek from God, a promise He’s made that I can cling to. As with all blessing and grace, He gives for His name’s sake–because of who He is–rather than because of anything about me. I need that to be true as well.
Maybe my heart hurts because it’s made of flesh now.
“‘Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’”
I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is.
–Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump