When crocodiles cry, their tears are not like our tears at all. A crocodile’s glandular excretions act to expel excess salt from its eyes. When a man is remorseful but not repentant he acts like a crocodile. He sheds tears but they are not from a true sense of shame over wrongdoing, but rather to put off the one aware of the sin. Remorse is that sensation we experience when we are caught. Repentance is the revulsion we taste for the evil in our lives.
We would have as much need for God as a crocodile has for friends if our sin or misfortune did not destroy us. At least that seems to be the prevailing thought of an affluent people. Yet in truth, didn’t God create us for fellowship with Himself? Isn’t His goal that we might experience His love while we worship Him? Zounds! Our fallen nature erupts like some thrashing behemoth. Unless we are sorry, truly sorry, we will not come to God on His terms.
As a child I had a knack for getting into trouble by clouding the truth! I was remorseful when caught but continued to quibble. It was not until I understood the pain my lying caused others that I truly repented. The kindest act of discipline my father conceived elicited genuine sorrow for my twisted tongue. When I realize Jesus was nailed to a cross for me, I begin to apprehend the deepest kindness possible for a perfect God intent on bringing me home!
2 Corinthians 7:10-- For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death.
The true mark of repentance according to Jesus is that our actions produce fruit (Matthew 3:8). Our conduct and character edifies those we touch in the process of everyday living. If we find that we cannot stop sinning it is sure sign that we have not truly repented. Genuine repentance breathes humility, honesty and a renewed sense of purpose to do only that which will please and honor God. Never fear repenting! The tears that flow from true repentance before God bring the most wonderful cleansing one can experience. For it is out of repentance that we first learn who God really is. True joy comes when those chains we have sought to hide finally come clanging free--released by the Lord who by grace breaks the grip of sin.
Unless God can alter me He dare not forgive me; if He did I should have a keener sense of justice and right than He has. The realization of the nature of God’s love produces in me the convulsions of repentance, and repentance fully worked out means holiness, a radical adjustment of the life.—Oswald Chambers in Thy Great Redemption
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)