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Here is your best news of the day:
1) Repentance makes you right with God.
If you have a perspective on life that the decisions and actions you’ve committed have placed you beyond god’s forgiveness, you’ve missed God.
God offers you repentance out of His abundant kindness. This is the way that you and He can be restored together.
2) Repentance is a moral workout.
When we repent, our integrity grows stronger and stronger and it becomes more and more difficult to do the same sin again.
We see a great example of this in the tale of Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. When Valjean gets to the point where he looks at himself and realizes that he no longer wants to be the thieving beast that he had been previouslty, he repents.
And he is changed forever.
You see, repentance changes you.
Therefore, each of us needs to create space for community and personal accountability. The truth is that you will never be virtuous by yourself. It simply can’t happen.
Chuck Colson’s story about how he was raised with utmost integrity yet still found himself in jail as one of the “Watergate Seven” proves that we cannot isolate ourselves and maintain our virtue.
As Colson said, “There’s no limit to the human capacity for self-deception.”
We lie to ourselves all the time.
Take the example of Colorado pastor Ted Haggard. He led a church of 14,000 congregants and he was held in the highest esteem across the country as an evangelical Christian leader.Then it all came crashing down when it was revealed that he had been soliciting sexual favors from a gay prostitute and smoking meth with him.
Ted thought he could do whatever he wanted and get away with it because there was no limit to his capacity to deceive himself.
The truth is – FOR ALL OF US – sin makes you dumb. It makes you do dumb things and it makes you believe that you won’t get caught.
As Haggard said:
“When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.”
To combat this, there are two groups of people that each of us need to be accountable to:
1) Old People. Most of the time, people older than yourself have more experience, knowledge and wisdom than you that you can learn from.
2) Iron Sharpeners. As the Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). Therefore don’t hang out with silly putty.
A humble, honest and healthy self-inventory is absolutely necessary to get on the path of a virtuous life.