Tahoma – You are walking down the aisle of the movie theatre. Suddenly, a man puts his foot in your path and causes you to trip over it. You spill your large popcorn all over the floor and are glad that you weren’t carrying your large drink. You look to see who tripped you. To your utter surprise it’s the guy who lives two houses down the street, Bill. He sincerely apologizes and says he won’t do it again. You get up go on your way. The next week, you’re returning movies to the movie rental store and are tripped up again by none other than Bill. The clerk helps you up. He quickly apologizes and says he won’t do it again. That Sunday, a friend of yours happens to invite Bill to your church. For the third time, Bill trips you, causing a carpet burn. He apologizes once more and says he won’t do it again. Your friend helps you up. Since you’re in your church, you accept the apology and go to tend to your knee. However, you’re thinking that you’ll never give the guy an oppourtunity to trip you up if you could help it ever again.
I want to use the above illustration to talk about repentance. It’s not likely we’ll run into people who’ll maliciously trip us up, but there are some who cause us to stumble in other ways. Repentance is not only being sorry, but also turning away from the wrong-doing and choosing to do right things instead. Otherwise you’ll have a peanut butter sandwhich or a jelly sandwhich, but not a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich.
That doesn’t remove our obligation to forgive him each time he sins against us. Jesus said we are to forgive seventy time seven. After all, aren’t we like the unmerciful servant whose debt was canceled but chose to beat up another servant for a much smaller debt he owed us? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be an unmerciful servant, his story does not come to a pleasant ending. Neither will ours if we refuse to forgive.
Do you truely repent if you refuse to turn away from your wrongdoing? Is it repentance if you do good but don’t apologize? I think not. Repentance is both turning away from wrongdoing and apolozing for it. When you look at repentance in the New Testament, the people are instructed to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. So repenting isn’t the end of it, but rather, it’s the beginning.
Luke 3:7-14, “7John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10″What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”
12Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13″Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told
them. 14Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.””