Repentant? Or Just Remorseful?
If I were to get in my car and go down the freeway at 140 miles per hour, I would be remorseful if the highway patrol pulled me over. Why? Because I’d pay a penalty for my choices. I’d get a ticket and maybe even spend the night in jail. And my insurance rates would go up significantly.
But if I were to get in my car and do the same thing the next day, it would show that I was not repentant.
There’s a difference between remorse and repentance. Sometimes we confuse the two. We’re remorseful when we’re sorry for getting caught. But we’re repentant when we’re sorry enough to stop doing the same thing.
A lot of people feel remorse. Maybe someone traps them in a lie or catches them stealing. Or maybe they sin in some other way, and it catches up with them eventually. Thus, they’re remorseful. But do they change their behavior?
If they simply plot a little more carefully the next time and hope they won’t get caught, that’s not repentance; that’s just remorse.
The Bible says, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT).
If you can continue on a course of sin despite feeling guilty about it, that tells me you don’t know God.
Maybe you’ve never given your life to Jesus. Maybe there has never been a moment in your life when you said, “Lord, I’m sorry for my sin, sorry enough to turn away from it.” Perhaps you’ve been sorry because you’ve been found out, but are you willing to turn away from that sin and put your faith in Jesus?
Jesus is telling us, “Friend, I love you, and I’m reaching out to you.” But you must reach out as well and take His hand. Have you done that yet?
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