That’s how we learned to say we’re sorry–our parents taught us behaviors.
Unfortunately, our feelings (Were we really sorry?) didn’t always match the act.
We said we were sorry so we could get back to playing. We obeyed the rules and continued doing our own thing.
The truth is, no one can make you “feel” sorry–you’re in control of your own feelings and emotions.
But what if you truly felt sorry? Is emotion enough? Is that momentary twinge of conscience going to change your behavior?
In his book A Long Obedience, Eugene Peterson states:
“Repentance is not an emotion. It is not feeling sorry for your sins. It is a decision.”
To truly repent means combining a change of heart with a change of behavior. It is deciding:
- that you have been wrong to think you were in control and managing your own life–in essence, being your own god.
- that you had the strength, training, wisdom, or fortitude to make it on your own.
- that you have chosen to believe a pack of lies about yourself, your friends, your world.
So, to truly repent, you make a decision:
- to believe that God in Jesus Christ is telling you the truth.
- to follow Jesus Christ.
- to become his disciple, to enter his tutelage as you learn to become more and more like him.