RSS

WHY IS “REPENT” SUCH A DIRTY WORD?

04 Mar

By Terry Loving

Mourners bench2

“Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”

Jeremiah 6:16

……………………………………..

In times past, preachers and Revivalists used what was called the “mourner’s bench” to call sinners to repentance.  After hearing a sermon that cut deep within the soul, a “sinner” would be “moved” by the Holy Spirit to change their sinful ways, kneel at the mourner’s bench – confess and denounce all wrong.

……………………………………..

In modern churches, preachers invite or extend altar calls to those who desire to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. During this time, people will publically confess Jesus as Lord, and get baptized – depending on the type of church they worship in.  This is also a time of “joining” a place of worship that is to your liking.

……………………………………..

The mourner’s bench has no spiritual powers – its significance is merely a symbol, a visual that connected sin, confession and repentance.  The practice was akin to kneeling at the foot of the cross and seeking with a contrite heart a cleansing of the soul. In some places of worship, public confession is practiced, and people are invited to empty their souls before the whole congregation. But times have changed, and the practice of confession of sins to God before an audience has all but disappeared.  Granted, we can go directly to God and confess our sins in private, however, this post mainly concerns the duty of repentance overall.

Mourners two

……………………………………..

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”a

“In the time of John, the nation had become extremely wicked and corrupt, perhaps more so than at any preceding period. Hence, both he and Christ began their ministry by calling the nation to repentance.”    Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

……………………………………..

Matthew 4:17  “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Both John and our Lord began their ministries calling for sinners to “repent.” So how is it that ministers today omit this requirement for salvation? Jesus said, “…It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Luke 5:32 says that sinners are called to repentance.

……………………………………..

mourners three

“I came not to call the righteous,…. Such as the Scribes and Pharisees were in their own apprehension, and in the esteem of others, who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and submitted not to the righteousness of Christ: these Christ came not to call by his grace, and therefore did not associate himself with them: but sinners to repentance; such as the publicans, and others, with them, were; and therefore he was chiefly with such, and chose to be among them: these he not only called to repentance by the outward ministry of the word, but brought them to it; he having power to bestow the grace of repentance, as well as to call to the duty of it;” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

……………………………………..

“5:27-39 It was a wonder of Christ’s grace, that he would call a publican to be his disciple and follower. It was a wonder of his grace, that the call was made so effectual. It was a wonder of his grace, that he came to call sinners to repentance, and to assure them of pardon. It was a wonder of his grace, that he so patiently bore the contradiction of sinners against himself and his disciples. It was a wonder of his grace, that he fixed the services of his disciples according to their strength and standing. The Lord trains up his people gradually for the trials allotted them; we should copy his example in dealing with the weak in faith, or the tempted believer.” Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Jesus_Said_Repent

……………………………………..

Every person on the face of this earth could benefit from a mourner’s bench of the heart. At any time, we can call upon God to forgive our sins – but we must first acknowledge that we are sinners who have a desire to change our ways, and therefore we must repent. But how can we know that we sin against God and others, even ourselves if the preaching is watered down, preached timidly, and filled with promises of riches in this life? If preaching hellfire and brimstone, and repentance of sins is so unpopular – then how can sinners be convicted of their sins so they can come to Christ and be saved?

……………………………………..

mourners one

Although repentance is for everyone, the remainder of this post will address domestic abusers, especially those who call themselves “Christians.”

……………………………………..

Prayer of a Suffering Penitent

Kind David lamented in Psalm 38 that suffering, and un-confessed sin was the cause of his “anxiety.”

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.”

“For I will declare mine iniquity – That is, he was not disposed to hide his sin. He would make no concealment of the fact that he regarded himself as a sinner. He admitted this to be true, and he admitted that his sin was the cause of all his troubles. It was the fact that he was a sinner that so painfully affected his mind; and he was not disposed to attempt to conceal it from anyone.”  Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

……………………………………..

“I will be sorry for my sin – I will not deny it; I will not apologize for it. I admit the truth of what my conscience charges on me; I admit the correctness and the propriety of the divine judgment by which I have been afflicted on account of my sin; I desire to repent of all my transgressions, and to turn from them.”

“For I will declare mine iniquity,…. Either to men, to ease his mind, justify God in his proceedings with him, and for their caution and admonition: or rather to God, against whom he had sinned, and who only could pardon him; with a view to which he was determined to make a free and open confession of it before him:”  Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

mourner four

……………………………………..

“David’s troubles were the chastisement and the consequence of his transgressions, whilst Christ suffered for our sins and ours only. What right can a sinner have to yield to impatience or anger, when mercifully corrected for his sins? David was very sensible of the present workings of corruption in him.” Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

……………………………………..

1 Corinthians 11:32 “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”

David’s penitent prayer did not include a “mourner’s bench” – but his soul mourned over his sins. Deep inside, his soul acknowledged he was a sinner, had sinned, confessed it, and repented.

2 Corinthians 7:10  “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

David’s heart was contrite and his prayer of repentance was honored by God.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

……………………………………..

“The good work wrought in every true penitent, is a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, and sorrow for sin. It is a heart that is tender, and pliable to God’s word. Oh that there were such a heart in every one of us! God is graciously pleased to accept this; it is instead of all burnt-offering and sacrifice. The broken heart is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ; there is no true repentance without faith in him. Men despise that which is broken, but God will not.”   Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

……………………………………..

praying prostrate1

You cannot be a Christian and an abuser as well.The words “Christian” and “abuser” are not synonymous. They do not belong together, and there is no such thing. There are “Christians” and there are those who abuse while claiming to serve Jesus Christ. If you are an abuser, you are not a true Christian.

Domestic violence and abuse amount to sin, and un-confessed sin separates us from God’s grace and hinders prayers:

Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;

Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.”

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Isaiah 1:15 – “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;”

the clay

……………………………………..

Those of you who are married:

“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7

Christians are not exempt from wrong-doing and committing evil even as the world does. Unfortunately, Christians have a tendency to see the world as “us” and “them,” “saints” and “sinner,” – however, believers can fall as well. We judge the sins of non-believers as if we never sinned ourselves:

“Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

womanPraying

……………………………………..

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,” New American Standard Bible (©1995)

1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall…”

Abusers in the body of Christ do not love God, and they are not of God.  In fact, their whole idea of “love” is distorted and worldly. Love should not abuse. Love should not hurt.

……………………………………..

Preaching repentance from the pulpit may not be popular or draw crowds, but there is no other way to forgiveness. One may confess to accept Jesus Christ, but without true repentance and a heart change, the confession is mere words – worthless.

Abusers in the body of Christ are yet “carnal” and have “a form of godliness.”

Having a form of godliness – will apply well to those who have all their religion in their creed, confession of faith, catechism, bodies of divinity, etc., while destitute of the life of God in their souls; and are not only destitute of this life, but deny that such life or power is here to be experienced or known. They have religion in their creed, but none in their hearts. Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

……………………………………..

Fear of God pic

“When men do not fear God, they will not regard man. When children are disobedient to their parents, that makes the times perilous. Men are unholy and without the fear of God, because unthankful for the mercies of God. We abuse God’s gifts, if we make them the food and fuel of our lusts. Times are perilous also, when parents are without natural affection to children. And when men have no rule over their own spirits, but despise that which is good and to be honoured. God is to be loved above all; but a carnal mind, full of enmity against him, prefers any thing before him, especially carnal pleasure.” Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

……………………………………..

But denying the power thereof – Opposing the real power of religion; not allowing it to exert any influence in their lives. It imposes no restraint on their passions and carnal propensities, but in all respects, except in the form of religion, they live as if they had None. This has been common in the world. From such turn away – Have no contact with them as if they were Christians; show no countenance to their religion; do not associate with them; compare 2 John 1:10-11; see the notes at 2 Corinthians 6:17.   Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

……………………………………..

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”

……………………………………..

Family-Praying1

“There is no fear of God – Psalm 36:1. The word “fear” here denotes “reverence, awe, veneration.” There is no such regard or reverence for the character, authority, and honor of God as to restrain them from crime. Their conduct shows that they are not withheld from the commission of iniquity by any regard to the fear or favor of God. The only thing that will be effectual in restraining people from sin, will be a regard to the honor and Law of God.” Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

……………………………………..

Many people ask, “When will domestic violence end?” The only way this evil will end is those who abuse must first hear the pure undiluted Word of God. The power is not in the preaching per se, but in the Word itself:

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

……………………………………..

“The idea here is, that what “God had said” is suited to detect hypocrisy and to lay open the true nature of the feelings of the soul, so that there can be no escape for the guilty. His “truth” is adapted to bring out the real feelings, and to show man exactly what he is. Truth always has this power – whether preached, or read, or communicated by conversation, or impressed upon the memory and conscience by the Holy Spirit. There can be no escape from the penetrating, searching application of the Word of God. That truth has power to show what man is, and is like a penetrating sword that lays open the whole man; compare Isaiah 49:2. The phrase “the Word of God” here may be applied, therefore, to the “truth” of God, however made known to the mind. In some way it will bring out the real feelings, and show what man is.” Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

……………………………………..

repent7

“When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.” Ezekiel 3:18

……………………………………..

“Repent” is not a dirty word – it holds the key to spiritual regeneration, and leads the lost and erring to the One who saves. It opens the door of stony hearts to receive guidance from God’s loving kindness and long suffering for our sakes. Feel good sermons won’t change hearts, nor will prosperity preaching – teaching disciples to place their trust in riches. Repentance cleanses the soul and gives us another chance to be in right standing with God.

……………………………………..

If you are an abuser who claims to know God, you are lying to yourself. You who are in the pulpit and abusing your loved ones are worst off, and you will be subject to a higher scrutiny in the Judgment. There should be no shame in confessing your faults to save your souls. If not, why bother getting up on Sunday morning and walking through the church house doors? What is the point? God is not listening to you.

……………………………………..

Except-Ye-Repent

Lastly, King David acknowledged that his sins and his sins alone were the cause of his misery. Abusers blame their loved ones when things go wrong in their lives, but David says:

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.”

……………………………………..

Abusers possess an uneasy spirit – a fretfulness that does not allow them to be at peace with themselves. In public, they put on a front that all is well until they reach home. When those who could witness their false sense of self are not present, they unleash their unjust fury upon those who they claim to love.

Abusers why not put pride aside and do as David did before it is too late? Domestic violence and abuse is wrong, sinful, and you alone are to blame for the turmoil within your household. You may lead the beautiful songs on Sunday morning, preach earth shaking sermons, and serve within your congregation seven days a week – but your un-repentant sins will soon find you out.

……………………………………..

100328-repent

“For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.”  Mark 4:22

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”

3 John 1:11 “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”

Proverbs 14:16 “A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.”

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'”

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.”

What is “lawlessness” and “iniquity?” – SIN!

What is domestic violence? – SIN!

What is abuse? – SIN!

Set the captives free

REPENT!

 “Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.” Proverbs 28:14

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” Matthew 7:13

…………………………………….

How to Recognize True (and false) Contrition — by Dr. George Simon, Jr.

“A person’s character deficiencies inevitably spawn a host of irresponsible behavior patterns – bad habits that can become easily ingrained and, once rooted, extremely hard to break.  Often, these dysfunctional patterns involve forms of mental, emotional, and even physical abuse within relationships.  And while many of the character-impaired individuals I’ve worked with experienced periods of profound unhappiness and even a degree of regret over their actions, only a handful made truly significant changes in their once destructive behaviors.”

…………………………………….

“Kevin says faith has also helped him, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. “What oftentimes happens is that people will think because they’re at a church or a synagogue or a mosque or whatever their particular faith is that they’re okay. No. Are you really dealing with where this emotional hurt came from?” he says. “Mental development has to happen, emotional development.”

“Kevin says healing doesn’t only happen when talking to a therapist or pastor. It also happens through support groups or advocacy organizations. “Part of this is that we have got to make a commitment to becoming allies in speaking out against this,” he says. “Are you willing for the rest of your life to commit verbally, emotionally, spiritually to challenging any forms of violence toward women and girls?” he says. “That’s the kind of work we need to get to.”

…………………………………….

Why Men Abuse Women

“Tony says it felt like he “blacked out” during the abuse. “You don’t understand what’s going on,” he says. “I completely own up to [what I did], but in that rage, it’s like your brain wires, they aren’t clicking.”

“He says being in an abusive relationship is like being in a drug addiction. “It becomes like your bond in the sense that the woman is like cocaine inside of that relationship. That’s the only connection you have, because there’s no real love,” he says. “In order to overcome it, it’s almost like you have to separate, go to rehab, move out of the dope house and never come back.”

…………………………………….

Domestic Violence and Claims of Change: Is It Possible?

…………………………………….

Danger of Rationalizing Sin

…………………………………….

How to tell if he’s changing

…………………………………….

How to tell if he’s not changing

…………………………………….

DOMESTIC ABUSE – DOES IT EVER STOP?

…………………………………….

http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009-2013
All rights reserved.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: