Unveiled Repentance

Journal Entry // August 7, 2022

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. (ESV)

2 Samuel 12:13

True humble repentance is what I am reading in this passage of Nathan confronting David about his sin. David listens to Nathan as he tells the story of the rich man taking the lamb of the poor person without any regard or compassion for what that lamb meant to the man and his family. David is rightfully upset with the man and vows to bring justice upon this man for what he has done. Nathan then speaks the message of the Lord to David and shows him that he is this man who has sinned. David listens to all the Lord says to him through the prophet and uttered this simple response, “I have sinned against the Lord.” David offered no excuses, no deflection, no rationalizing, and no defense. There was none to give. David’s eyes had been open to the depth of his sin. The veil of deception that he had placed over his heart had been lifted and David could clearly see the ugliness of the sin presented before him. In humility, David understood his failure. Not just his failure to protect and honor Uriah and Bathsheba, but his failure to honor Christ. David knew his only response was to acknowledge that his sin was against the Lord.

This is true repentance. This is the repentance that I need in my heart at this moment. I seem to play at repentance if I am being completely honest before the Lord. There are times where God removes the veil of deception from my heart and I am struck to the core by the depth and arrogance of my sin. I am moved deeply and with emotion to cry out as David does here, but there seems to be something lacking in my repentance. There seems to be a bit of withholding on my part. It’s as if my repentance is a jar filled with the pebbles of sin that I am confessing and repenting to turn away from. I offer this jar of sin pebbles to the Lord and want him to remove this far from me. Yet, I keep to myself a handful of pebbles or even one tiny pebble. I do this because I am afraid to truly let go completely of my sin. I am terrified to completely lose what has seemingly always been with me.

It has intrigued me for many years that I seem incapable of truly giving over to the Lord the full due repentance of turning from my sin. I repent and I want to repent and I want to be rid of this sin. I want to be clean. Repentance is there. I know the repentance I bring to Christ is true and honest and intentional. I want to be humble before Christ and acknowledge all of the darkness that still lingers in my heart. I want to see and understand how much my sin grieves the heart of God. I want to have that same brokenness over my sin. I want to not only hate the sin and battle the sin, but I want to be rid of the sin. I want to have an open heart before the Lord. I want what David offers in this passage. He offers his whole heart in repentance.

This is what David teaches me about repentance. Whole-hearted, no holding back, true repentance before the Lord. Acknowledging the sin before the Lord. Firmly stating that the sin was against the Lord. Owning the ugliness and rebellion of the sin. Asking forgiveness and mercy from God through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Remembering and considering the importance of Christ on the cross and his resurrection. Then turning from my sin. Doing whatever it takes to completely turn away from sin. It’s easy to say I will do whatever it takes, but it is so difficult in practice. Years of habits. Years of wayward thinking. Years of self-deception. Years of lies and cover ups. Years of just holding tight to “my” sin. Repentance is doing away with all of this and seeing that there is only need of one thing, Jesus. The lies of sin are just that. They are false hopes and false feelings. The true hope and true feeling only come from Jesus.

Lord… Forgive me for my continued seeking to skirt true repentance. Forgive me for deceiving myself about the state of repentance in my heart before you. I understand that I am a prideful and arrogant self-serving man. I understand that I do actually mean well and do want to honor you with my repentance, but I acknowledge that I oftentimes hold back some sin in reserve. I sometimes welcome sin back. I think so little of the cost of sin and I fail to see the magnitude of sin, even tiny sins. Every sin is an affront to you. Every sin is in rebellion to your commandments and your character. Lord, forgive me. It is against you and you alone that I have sinned. I have wrongfully loved sin more than you at times. Lord, forgive me. Cleanse me. Heal me. Set me on the right path of obedience and faithfulness. Draw me closer to Jesus in humility. Change me, Lord. Make me more like Jesus.

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