Superficial Repentance


They will seek the Lord but they will not find Him. He has withdrawn from them. Hosea 5:6

“The proof is in the pudding.” My talk is cheap. Actions must prove my words.

The same is true of repentance. If I tell God I am sorry for what I’ve done, I will not go out and intentionally repeat it again. My actions will prove that I agree with God about my sin, that it was also distasteful to me, that it also grieved my soul.

Childishness can mark the life of many believers. Remember when our parents told us to apologize to a brother or sister. We said, “Sorry!” because we were made to. The mere inflection of our “Sorry!” was a clue that repentance was not evident in our heart. I’m not saying that our parents weren’t right in telling us to apologize. We certainly needed to learn that our sin hurts others and bear the responsibility for that, but what I am saying is that grownups can mimic children. We can tell God that we sorry all the while believe that we are placating Him, keeping His displeasure in check. Our lips say one thing but our hearts reveal something else entirely.

God is not a Father with an angry face, one we need to dance for to keep happy. He is serious about sin, loves us passionately, and is concerned about parenting authentic children. We are not to be ‘dual fountains’ that are full of bitter water but try to feign sweet talk to disguise our true condition. While we may fool some people around us, God only sees bitter water because He looks at the heart.

God’s complaint with Israel during Hosea’s day was that they offered a superficial repentance. They came with their sacrifices, with their flocks and herds to give a general apology, but their lives never changed. Until our repentance is as specific as our sin, God is not taking us seriously. It’s as if He sees us coming with all our pretension and closes His eyes in dread at the babbling that follows. Ultimately, beneath the dread is a heartbroken Father who suffers betrayal. Anytime I say “I’m sorry” but don’t mean it, I cheapen the blood offering of “The Lamb.”

When my heart is not in sync with Yours Lord, let me sense Your tears. I want to bring You nothing but joy. Amen

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