Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Genuine repentance stories solicited

I was listening to an address by D. A. Carson in which he told, in passing, of a repentant pastor. The details are unimportant to my point, which is that the man was eventually brought (in conjunction, I believe, with church discipline and temporal consequences) genuinely and thoroughly to repent of his sin. As a consequence of this repentance, he was eager — himself, without having to be dragged by the collar like a balky donkey — to produce fruits of repentance.

Then by contrast, I saw the story of a murderer who apologized, in tears, for murdering his girlfriend and unborn child — and then pled with the jury not to visit just consequences on him for his actions.

This led me to reflect on how many stories I could tell of people who got involved in serious sin, were thoroughly and earnestly confronted and pled with, reaped consequences, were derailed, hurt many others — and never, ever (to my knowledge) genuinely repented as the Bible describes repentance.

So as usual my collection of stories would be... well, less heartwarming than your average Stephen King yarn.

So how about you? Sparing any uncharitable details, have you seen actual, genuine, God-breathed, root-to-branch repentance? (Email me, if that's better.)


CR said...


I have not seen true repentance of a serious public egregious sin from confrontation (one-to-one) or through church discipline. With church discipline, I have either heard or seen abusive church discipline (like disciplining a church member of spiritual pride because they are a store owner who sells NIV Bibles) or I have seen or heard confrontations (individual or corporate) that were God-honoring but the person does not repent.

Of course, I'm sure there are many examples of it occurring. I think part of the problem is that many of us have never seen God-honoring confrontation modeled. I'm sure it's a tough balancing act to consider what actions need to be followed up through biblical discipline.

I know I would probably have counsel with leaders or more mature Christians to know when and how sin needs to be confronted, because this is a matter I was never discipled in and wouldn't know how to do best.

Anonymous said...

Yes Dan, I have seen the kind of repentance you are talking about, on more than one occasion. Won't go into too many details, but one situation was especially noteworthy. It involved public confession of a public sin before the entire congregation. The man accepted all consequences impsed, both by the elders and by the legal system. And it was an amazing learning experience for the entire church body, as they practiced forgiveness and restoration of this man. A great example of the fact that church discipline done right and received right is a powerful means of building up the body of Christ.

Kristine said...

My husband and I have been unspeakabley blessed by our gracious and merciful God, to have been granted with genuine repentance over the past two years; with regard to the heinous sins we willingly allowed into our personal and family life. We have publically confessed these gross sins to each other, our families, in my case (related to our divorce, my abortion and other sins), I've confessed them to my blog readers as well; and our church family.

In short, this repentance has been an immeasurable gift of God.

Everything God allowed into our lives; every consequence of these sins we experienced, was indeed justly deserved. However, if you ask me, we deserved much more. We've been more overwhelmed by God's grace and His mercy than words can express.