Repentance Before Rising by Pastor Scott Peterson
Repentance before Rising
Last week I wrote about my desire to follow the Scriptures from James 1 being “quick to listen, slow to speak” and 1 John 3 about loving acts of compassion “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” After listening to many voices, and connecting with our city & denominational church partnerships, my heart is heavy with a personal conviction toward repentance.
“In repentance & rest is your salvation, in quietness & trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” – Isaiah 30:15
Knees of injustice – listening to the cries for change
There have been many ruthless & heartless images and many heartening & restorative images of kneeling the past days. Some images have been stark reminders of systemic injustice; some truly hate-filled displays of mocking, and some genuinely broken humble seekers of peace and change. Change! One of the strongest Biblical words for change is repentance – “to change one’s mind and turn…” Biblical change begins in our hearts with confession, moves us to our knees in contrition and raises us up to change directions. In my mind, confession & contrition must come before change. In David’s great Psalm of confession we read: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite (repentant) heart, O God, you will not despise” (51:17).
Knees of righteousness – responding to the call for confession
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the result of righteousness will be quietness & confidence (trust) forever. – Isaiah 32:17
The Bible is filled with beautiful Scripture pairings of righteousness that come from repentance on knees of confession:
- In repentance & rest; quietness & trust is your strength – Isaiah 30:15 (above)
- Returning to God with words of confession & forgiveness: Return to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall. Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, ‘Forgive all our sins’ – Hosea 14:1-2
- Godly sorrow & salvation: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10
- God’s faithfulness & justice: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
Righteousness & justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love & faithfulness go before you. – Psalm 89:14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
Yes, I agree with those who have said we need to act and that reconciliation happens in relationship & service but I also believe that reconciliation happens best after repentance & acts of sacrificial love (so let me begin with humility on my knees in prayer).