The Latter Rain: Celebrate Lent-Day 7
10 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
As we continue to look at our Lenten journey as a form of celebration, we need to think through what it means to ‘repent’. We often misunderstand this word as sorrow for our sins. Actually the word ‘repent’ means to “turn around and go the other way.” The word we often confuse with repent is ‘contrition’, which is a form of sorrow.
We need to feel sorrow for our sins but scripture teaches us it needs to be the right kind of sorrow. We can be sorry for different reasons. For example, we can be sorry we got caught doing something wrong. However, while that is a form of contrition, it may or may not lead us to repentance. Negative reinforcement rarely teaches us to turn from sin.
Today’s scripture focus tells us that God wants us to be sorry for our sins with a form of ‘true contrition’ that will draw us closer to Him, not drive us farther away. Such true contrition allows us to see God as our loving Father. He wants us to turn away from our sin because He knows what is best for us, not because He is mad at us for what we did; this is a critical difference in how we see and respond to God as our Father.
“Godly sorrow draws us closer to God – not push us further away.”
Far too many people see God only as a ‘Just Judge’ who caught them in their sin, is mad at them, and cannot wait to punish them. Nothing is further from the truth!
God is our loving Father. Like in Jesus’ story of The Prodigal Son, when with true contrition for our sin we turn around in repentance, God not only waits for us to return to Him with open arms, He runs out to meet us shouting, “Welcome Home!”
Lent is a season of turning around. During Lent we do not want to focus on our sinfulness in order to make us feel so bad we end up feeling even more distant from God. We want to confess our sins in joy, knowing our Heavenly Father is excited to hear our confession and see our repentance, as we turn around with the help of His grace.
The excitement we are to see in our Father God is the pouring out of His latter rain. He is raining down blessings of His Spirit upon us. So today, as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “…do not harden your hearts…” There is no regret in Godly sorrow, so open up your heart and let the rain fall down!