repentance

Repentance: how to find forgiveness from God

Have you ever felt like you failed God? 

You shouldn’t have pursued that job, relationship or path… but you did anyway, hoping it would work out.  

Now you are left with a heart full of regret for your indiscretions. These regretful thoughts are consuming you, leaving you in a state of despair. 

You want to move on, but you can’t; you don’t know how. 

I never want to fail Jesus, or feel like he isn’t pleased with me. I deeply desire that “well done” every day, not just on the day I meet him face to face.

I have found myself in this place and have learned that accepting and receiving his forgiveness changes it all.  

Not accepting his forgiveness, on the other hand, separates our hearts from him. Jesus died for you, and wants you to receive his gift. The promise of forgiveness is the drive to repent. 

In order to keep our hearts surrendered to the Lord and open to him, we must have a repentant heart. 

Repentance is allowing your heart to know that you need the Lord, knowing that you’ll fall short of his glory and that you must receive his forgiveness.

David clearly illustrates what this entails. He paints us a picture of his own heart in Psalm 51, as it is in shambles when he disobeys God with Bathsheba, a married woman. 

He knows his sin and knows that he must repent. He doesn’t justify his actions in any way.

Admitting your wrongdoing

It’s so important, when we do wrong, that we admit it to God and ourselves. This is the first step in repentance. 

We must pour out our hearts to him as David did, and not make excuses. 

He already knows; he wants to show us his love, mercy, and compassion but he wants our hearts to be in recognition: humble and not prideful. 

David was well aware of what he did wrong. He never denied it or tried to justify his actions. Instead, he fully went to the Lord, desperate for his forgiveness and to be released. 

We see this at the beginning of Psalm 51, verses 1-2 (NIV): “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

When we admit our wrongdoing before the Lord and take responsibility, we know our need for him and respect his position. It keeps us humble and our hearts devoted to him. 

We will see his love, mercy and compassion as a result. 

You will see his true heart for you, and his unfailing love. It will change your heart, too, and will bring you closer to him. 

Repentance is allowing your heart to know that you need the Lord, knowing that you’ll fall short of his glory and that you must receive his forgiveness.

David had a deep connection with God; we can see that in how he held nothing back from him. 

God already knows it all; we just have to express our remorse, which demonstrates that we need him, that we desire to be more like him, and in turn want to live for him. 

Go to God in prayer and honestly admit your wrongdoing. Don’t hold back. Repentance will create in you a genuine heart, and in response a deeper connection with him.

Take responsibility for your actions

When we admit our transgressions to the Lord, we must accept that there will be consequences. 

Our actions and choices can hurt us and others. David knew this. 

We see this in Psalm 51:3-4 (NIV): “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.”

David knew that, first and foremost, when we do wrong it’s against God. Others can be affected greatly, too. 

Our hearts must want to deeply please God; to not want to sin. When our hearts fully comprehend this, it makes us want to seek God more; to be like him and for him to live through us. 

As a result, it allows us to make better choices for him and leads us into a deeper, surrendered life to him. 

It brings our hearts into a place of deeper connection as we can see our position in our relationship with him; as a child needing his papa always. 

When we know that God’s heart is deeply grieved by our wrongdoing, we will think twice and reconsider our actions. 

It will allow us to seek him for direction and let go of our desires. We don’t want to be fearful of sinning, but we will seek not to sin because we love him and want to please him. 

When we take responsibility, we can also then receive his forgiveness. We need to forgive ourselves too and surrender any guilt and shame which keeps us from receiving it. We can then be restored. 

Let’s keep our hearts in a posture of repentance when we do wrong by being humble before the Lord, acknowledging our human fallibility. 

He loves you and wants you to receive his forgiveness, as well as his grace… to be restored in him.

Some questions to consider:

  • Do you find yourself justifying your wrongdoing?
  • What do you need to repent of today?

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Nikki Evanson

Hi, I'm Nikki

My goal is to help and equip Christian women like you to live for Jesus by following Matthew 22:37-39: to love God, to love yourself, and to love others.

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