None of us like to be told that we are wrong, much less admit to ourselves that we really have made mistakes. The devil is good at using guilt, shame, and fear to hold us back from engaging in repentance with God.
Those feelings are powerful, and can lead to a lot of messed up behavior. For many people, repentance is hard because it means we have to face those feelings, but a life of spiritual growth means a life of consistently admitting to our faults and dealing with them when they come to the surface.
Maturity often boils down to finding a way to readily handle the feeling of being wrong in a healthy way, and grow from it instead of becoming bitter or offended.
For me, sanity, maturity, and inner peace, all come from a foundation God laid in my life, which is universal for all Christians. This foundation brings freedom and allows us to engage in the process of admitting fault in a healthy way.
That’s the power of positive repentance.
Since Jesus gave His life to save us from our sins, He took the sting out of death and the bite out of repentance. We are no longer condemned for our mistakes and that realization is huge. Even without condemnation unto death, shame can still make us feel bad because our faults exist, even if we don’t have to face consequence or condemnation for them.
The love of God can overcome shame if we allow it. The presence of God can change the process of repentance from an uncomfortable or painful process into an exciting process of transformation, which is a whole different ball park.
When we meet face to face with God we can be transformed. If we open the door of our heart to him as he speaks to us, then, instead of facing consequences and atonement, we have put ourselves in a position to receive instruction, revelation, and transformation.
The area that was transformed, which used to be a stronghold, a hidden sin, or maybe just a stressful part of our life, now becomes a permanent area of strength.
But we have to open the door. Not the door to our life, our jobs, or our morning quiet time… the door to our heart, our opinions, desires, and personality. The door to our identity. When we let the presence of God touch us in that place and transform us, it never goes away.
We can walk away from that encounter with permanent change. Immediately, and powerfully, the area of weakness and difficulty in our lives can become the strongest area of truth because He has permanently taken up residence in our heart.
We will find seemingly unrelated areas of our lives irrevocably influenced by this transformation. We have now been empowered and equipped to bring heaven on earth in ways we never imagined before.
So really, repentance does not have to be a shameful and difficult part of our lives. It can be a happy process. It can be an empowering and uplifting process if we allow our perspective to be changed to what God is doing, rather than how we are feeling.
It’s not always easy, and it doesn’t always happen the first time. He stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20), he is always guiding us through the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to do everything ourselves. We have a loving and capable helper to guide us on the path.