Real Repentance...

A Recipe for Humble Pie

K. Knapp: Recently I spoke with a woman whose husband has been struggling with various forms of sexual addiction. Once he was found out, he made a superficial claim that he and God had everything reconciled and that things were "fine". However, he was still pushy and rude towards his wife and was angry and condemning towards her. He said that she had no right to be angry, non-trusting or frustrated with him, because he had made things right with God. According to him, now she was the one with the problem.

He had intellectually received God's forgiveness, yet he reeked of pride. You see, claiming forgiveness from God, while still being unrepentant in your heart is like buying a car with no engine, or owning a million dollars in counterfeit hills. It's hollow... empty... fake... and has no meaning! Forgiveness from God without repentance from the person is cheap grace!

Recipe for Humble Pie

God's word in Ezekiel 18:30b-31a says "Repent! Turn from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart, and a new spirit." Also II Cor. 7:10 says "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." If a man is truly getting his business straight with God, there will be a humility, and a "Godly sorrow".

Since we work in the addictions field here at AFA OutReach, we often hear all kinds of stories from addicts falsely claiming repentance. That's fine, but you can't fool God! At every workshop, I tell the men that they're wasting their money if they are playing any kind of game, manipulation, or putting on some show. What did David do when he was confronted by Nathan about his sexual sin in 11 Samuel 12? He confessed "I have sinned against the Lord." (vs. 12), he "fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground" (vs.17), and then later "he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped" (vs. 20). David had to face the consequences of his actions, like the death of his child, yet his own life was spared because of his repentance and humility.

In an excellent book called Forgive and Forget by Lewis Smedes, he says "the art of getting back into fellowship after we have done someone dirty is knowing we don't belong there. We must know we are not worthy... repentance is the only honest entrée to forgiveness." This applies to God, spouses and all our relationships. If there is to be true and lasting reconciliation between yourself and God, spouses, friends, or enemies, it must start with humility, admission of guilt, and a request for grace. God promises to forgive us when we ask (I John 1:9), but we need a repentant heart, a new attitude, and some 'humble pie' if we ever expect our relationships to work. That is when we will truly appreciate and begin to understand God's grace.

by Ken Knapp
Director of Men's Ministries
American Family Association OutReach Division
P.O. Drawer 2440
Tupelo MS 38803


printed in Encourager 3:4 p. 2, May 1997

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