"True repentance"

Today, my son lied to me. The specifics were minor, but his attempts to weasel out of the offense without coming clean caused me concern. One author, writing about our vague "confessions," said that she imagines "God as a wily writing teacher [leaning] across the table and [saying], not at all gently, ‘Could you possibly be troubled to say what you mean?'" The Bible characters who seem to always be in the middle of the fray, calling God's people on the carpet for their sins, naming names, making pretty much everyone uncomfortable, are the prophets. Everyone liked the prophet, so long as he or she predicted blessing and good days ahead. The true prophet, however, was God's mouthpiece, and God is about the business of uncovering hidden places of rebellion, dishonesty, and idolatry.

On one occasion, God had Micah tell Israel that because of their stubborn refusal to obey, they would be "plowed like an open field" (Micah 3:12). Dire words.

How do we respond when God points out our wayward ways? Do we wiggle and squirm and offer excuses about why we acted so poorly? Do we hide? Do we slough off our responsibility, refusing to own up to our sin?

King Hezekiah and Israel took the harder path, the one that leads to humility and repentance. "They turned from their sins and worshiped the Lord" (Jeremiah 26:19). No bartering. No wrangling. Just a straight, "I was wrong, and I'm sorry."

The old confession of the church has it right: "Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against You. . . . We are truly sorry and we humbly repent." , Winn Collier, Our Daily Journey

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