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The Three R's of Repentance


The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

As Christians, something that’s really difficult to do is repent. The longer we live, the more we realize that there is a lot of sin (disobedience to God) in our lives. In the last article, we discussed how to avoid sin in the first place. No matter how hard we try, however, we will still sin from time to time. In this article, we will discuss what a proper response to sin is in our own lives. What happens when we mess up? For the Christian, we should repent.

Repentance can be broken down into 3 “R’s”: recognition, remorse, and reformation. First, there is recognition. This is understanding that what we made a mistake that displeases God. How can we learn to recognize sin? We need to make sure we are reading our Bible and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit who dwells inside of us. Recognition is the starting stage of repentance. You can’t repent from something if you don’t know that it’s wrong. After, recognition gives way to remorse. Remorse is that guilty or shameful feeling after something you do is wrong. Why is this important? Remorse demonstrates that your soul understands that something needs to change. Feeling proper and healthy shame means that your heart knows that it is sick and in need of care. Finally, remorse should lead to reformation. This is the process of changing our ways to avoid sinful behavior. We cannot live continually in sin and hope to grow in our faith.

As discussed in our previous article, there are a plethora of ways to set up roadblocks against sin and temptation. While we know that we will never be fully free of sin, we also know that the blood of Christ covers us. Confess to Him your sins and posture your life in such a way as to allow the Holy Spirit to help you change your ways. Never forget that God loves you so much that He sent His son, Jesus, to die for our sins and transgressions. Through His sacrifice, we are free to live healthy, whole lives in pursuit of God.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

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