“You have got to be kidding me” I whispered under my breath. I had just been called into the room by Dave after finally getting the kids down for their afternoon nap, and as I walked through the door I could see my husband’s obvious distress.
In a couple of days Dave was due to fly to Nigeria but his visa was not coming through and despite his every effort to get it sorted out, there was nothing for us to do but wait and pray… something that is a lot easier said than done. It was a last minute trip, and with the church’s first public service the day after his return and many assignments due, we had both been stretched to our limits to get everything done on time and the stress of it all was becoming a little much.
I walked over to Dave, who was nearly in tears, took a deep breath and sat down “…are you ok?” Obviously not, but midway through sharing his heartfelt struggle with me I had heard enough, and I began to unfold on him what he later described a “man up speech” that would have made Dr Phil’s reality therapy look soft. He commented that a speech was not really what he needed right now and left for his next meeting. In all honesty I was happy for him to leave, I was not enjoying the company of a stressed out person when I was so exhausted emotionally and physically already. He wanted compassion, love, help, and that day I gave none, I simply felt I had nothing to give.
I knew I had to make it right and God told me to apologise. I argued little with God, not only because I had little energy to argue and have learned that its more productive banging your head against the wall than arguing with God, but I knew that my first calling was of a wife – a helpmate, and I needed to put that first. I had to ask God for the love, strength and compassion I needed for this calling He had given me, and I began to write my text apology. At first it sounded something like “sorry I wasn’t very helpful just then but I’m so tired, another crying person in the house is beyond what I can handle when we have a toddler and a baby…” and then I heard the voice of the preacher Creflo Dollar ring through my head “real repentance comes without excuse.” Was I really repentant?
Just like Eve (Genesis 3) I was trying to justify my sin by blaming something else, and it was not going to help the situation, or my heart move towards reconciliation. I had some time with God and allowed Him to sort my heart out, and the sorrow over my sinful attitude towards Dave made the text become completely different; I really was sorry and I really did want to make it right, no excuses.
I learned a lot about repentance that day; it does indeed come without excuse, justification, or blame-shifting. If we really want God to make our lives right then we need to do more than just apologise with our mouths when we mess up, but we need to confess from our hearts with honesty about the sin taking place in our lives and allow Him to transform us so that we can walk on His path.
Is there something you need to truly repent about in your life today? Next time you need to say sorry to God or someone in your life, do so without excuse and allow God to transform you and the situation.
“Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Matthew 3:2