Our church is reading through the chronological order of the Bible this year, and each week I have been preaching from a passage in the reading for that week. So far this year, we have spent all our time in the Old Testament.
Throughout the Old Testament, there are consistent calls for the people to repent. Repentance is necessary for all of us on a regular basis. But some things get in the way of our repentance. Here are five things I have seen in my life and in the life of others that prevents us from repenting.
No one wants to be wrong. We all want to be right. Admitting we are wrong is tricky for almost every person I have ever encountered. Our pride keeps us from acknowledging we are wrong; thus, it prevents us from repenting. Pride blinds us from the need to repair relationships and change behaviors. Pride is a repentance hurdle.
Success is the one that deceives us. When we are not experiencing any consequences for our actions, it causes us to think that what we are doing must not need to be changed. What makes it even more difficult is when we experience some measure of success despite our poor choices, it may cause us to believe that our choices and actions are right when they are not.
Sometimes we are just ignorant. We do not know what to do or that we have done something wrong. Someone or something may bring our issues to our attention, but we may be ignorant of what is going on and what we need to do. That is why we have the saying “ignorance is bliss.”
Arrogance knows what is wrong but chooses to do nothing about it. Arrogance sees the consequences and understands the pain but refuses to change. Arrogance does not consider others or concern itself with personal consequences. Arrogant people want to do what they want to do despite the outcome.
Sometimes grace removes all consequences. Sometimes God’s providence allows us to escape without any trouble. The problem is that we may repeat the behavior expecting the same result. God always grants us grace, but grace does not always remove the consequences. The outcome may look different the next time. Don't abuse grace.
Regular times of repentance alleviate some of this. Self-awareness and self-reflection also play an essential role in repentance. Most importantly, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and convict us pushes us toward repentance. Don’t miss out on the importance of repentance in your life.