After a couple of weeks of repenting and facing the reality of our short lifetimes and numerous sins that we have participated in, our souls are moved to celebrate what the repentance has uncovered. Maybe we already knew we were sinners, that knowledge is nothing new. In coming to grips with the fact that we are more sinful than we ever let ourselves think, we learn how merciful, gracious and forgiving our God really is. If you haven’t discovered this one yet, you are actually more sinful than you can ever imagine-- The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
In the midst of a season focused on true repentance, spring bursts through. Even if you live in the north where the flowers are not budding quite yet, there can be a time of spring, a season of anticipation and joy on your Lenten journey.
True repentance leads to joy. There is no question about it. If your time of focusing on your sins has made you more gloomy and pessimistic about yourself, then you are not experiencing true repentance.
Judas and Peter are notorious for their sins against Jesus. Their sins happened the same night, and Jesus told about them before they happened. Both men experienced intimate encounters with Jesus in the midst of their sin—Judas—his famous kiss, and Peter—the eye contact that sent him to bitter tears. Both felt sorrow for their sin against Jesus: Judas experienced worldly repentance; Peter experienced Godly repentance.
Paul lays out the difference in 2 Corinthians 7:8-13.
|Worldly Sorrow—what Judas felt:
||Godly Sorrow—what Peter felt:
- Repentance that leads to salvation
- No regret
- Eagerness to clear yourself
- Readiness to see justice done
It’s a big difference, isn’t it? I hope this midpoint of Lent is taking you to Godly sorrow that leads to celebration and joy!