Remorse vs repentance

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Remorse vs repentance

Who doesn’t love a good story? It has the power to immerse us deeply into the essence of facts. It captivates people of all ages, cultures and social classes through its easy understanding.

The Lord Jesus used stories to teach and my favourite is of His authorship, The Prodigal Son.

We’ve learned a lot in this narration, but, today, I want to emphasise the moment at which the son recognised his mistake and how he managed to get up.

The boy was tremendously ungrateful to his father. He disregarded everything he received and trampled on his father’s love.

The son demanded his part of the inheritance, which he still did not have a right to, and left without leaving a trace.

He spent everything on parties, friends and women, to the point of being abandoned by everyone. Without money and friends, the illusion finished. His only option left was to take care of pigs to feed himself.

As long as he had goods, he didn’t know how wrong he was. We can conclude that a pigpen – the bottom of the pit – has its advantages.

It took some time, but, one day, the penny dropped and he saw the severity of his doings. He reflected and heard his conscience; he was humbled and decided to make amends.

No one can manage to make someone else change or see his mistakes, and much less repent. If the penny doesn’t drop, any advice given is in vain.

The son returned distraught and destroyed due to his disobedience. He felt ashamed under the weight of the injustice he had committed. He knew that things could no longer be the same. “Receive me and treat me like a simple worker in your house, it’ll be enough!” said the son to his father.

We have seen a “modern spirituality” in which sins and mistakes are no longer this severe. They can be solved with a simple apology and automatically the perpetrator wants everything to be forgotten. Scriptures say that repentance is accompanied by signs: a broken heart, fasts, weeping and mourning. This has been replaced with indifferent hearts – almost artificial – and very dry eyes. (I’m not insinuating that tears prove repentance, but it’s very difficult to see someone repent without tears!)

We see people who leave a trail of mistakes and heartbreaks, and this doesn’t even bring a frown to their face. They are capable of asking for a million apologies and make promises, which doesn’t change anything in their interior or exterior – everything remains the same.

Apologising is very well suited when you accidentally step on someone’s foot or make mistakes … Small meaningless things such as, “Sorry about that, I didn’t mean it, it just happened!”

But, the request of forgiveness is something profound that’s not justified or excused. When someone is truly repentant, he knows he did wrong and doesn’t try to put the blame on others. Don’t try to run away from the consequences of your mistake.  You will feel crushed by the sadness that drives you to confess and be forgiven.

Would you have believed in the prodigal son’s repentance if he had come to his father, blaming friends who had influenced him? Or Peter, if he had justified his betrayal by blaming the pressured interrogation of the people?

There are forgiveness and opportunities for the humble. The Father’s arms and a new life were waiting for the son as a reward after the penny dropped.

Never err in making apologies, trying to minimise your mistakes, when the situation requires forgiveness.

Until next time!

Cristiane Cardoso
cristianecardoso.com

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