Have you ever tried to apologize to someone only to find out things just got worse? Years ago, I was at my brother’s house and I needed to apologize for something I had said to him. I knew in my heart that I was wrong and he deserved an apology. So I went to his place and I said something that went basically like this, “Hey man, I want to say I’m sorry for what I said to you the other day. The reason I said it is because you and I are very similar, and when I saw what you were doing and how you tend to get like that, I knew I needed to say something.” He had this puzzled look on his face, and then I will never forget what he said. “I know you value being honest, so I’m going to tell you that’s the worst apology I have ever heard in my life. You basically just pointed out what you think is wrong with me and blamed me for the way you spoke to me. I can’t accept that apology. That’s terrible.” My jaw dropped and then my heart sank. I was immediately convicted because he was 100% correct. I had completely missed the mark of repentance.
In part 1 of our series on repentance we said that repentance is an ongoing experience in the life of a Christian because there is sin that dwells in us. And that sin can emerge even when we are trying to apologize! So sin dwells in us, and then sin comes out of us. Interestingly enough, one of the Hebrew words we translate as “sin” in the Bible means to miss the mark, like firing an arrow at a target but missing it. Well, here are 4 ways we tend to miss the mark of true repentance. Do any of these sound familiar?
In Revelation 2:4 Jesus told the church they had abandoned the love they had at first and they should get back to doing the works they used to do. None of us became Christians by dodging, minimizing, defending or blaming others for our sin. Instead, we repented of it, and thanked Jesus for his grace that forgives us, cleanses us, accepts us, and empowers us to change. Let’s get back to doing that! Next time you notice you’re missing the mark of true repentance, may God’s grace empower you to simply stop and truly repent.