Repentance has become a very unpopular subject these days. I’ve been noticing a most irritating trend among a good deal of preachers of watering down the Gospel to minimize the role of repentance. It’s not fun to hear, and therefore it is not talked about nearly enough. People don’t like hearing about repentance because it makes them uncomfortable about their sin.
Far too often Christianity is watered down into motivational speaking and a self-help guide to being a good person. The darker, more difficult elements are just brushed under the rug, because they might not be as appealing to the masses. Yes, aiming to win as many people as possible is a good thing, however, it cannot be done at the expense of true Christianity.
Christianity is not meant to be about happiness all the time. There is a time for godly sorrow. It is important to grieve over sin. God takes sin seriously. In light of that, who are we to take it lightly? God is not tolerant. God is jealous, God is just, God is wrathful, but most of all, God is loving. He hates sin and loves us so passionately that He sent His own Son to die on a cross to destroy it so that He wouldn’t have to destroy us because of it. Because He did so much to destroy sin, it grieves Him when we continue in it. And anyone that follows Jesus should be grieved by what grieves Him. Our sin should be ample cause for weeping.
This sorrow should bring repentance. This is what I hear far too little of in most Christian books, and sermons. God demands that we turn from our sin. The word itself literally means to turn completely away and go the opposite direction. We cannot go on tolerating sinful lifestyles. That’s the part that nobody likes to hear. God hates your sin. God loves you, but hates what you do.
Following Jesus means renouncing everything else. Renouncing your old lifestyle, renouncing your culture, renouncing your own interests. It is not easy. It is not pretty. It is not always fun. But it is worth it. I have to wonder what it would be like if we stopped worrying so much about offending people and actually called out sin for what it is. I wonder what the Church in America would be like if actually lived out that cliche of “loving the sinner and hating the sin.”
I think sometimes we become so afraid of being judgemental that we think we can’t stand up and say that something is wrong. We need to realize that Jesus does indeed love us, but He loves us too much to allow us to go on living in sin. This is the same love that we need to have for others. We need to love them enough to tell them that they are wrong.
I suppose this was more of a ramble than anything, but I just wanted to get it out of me. I guess, all I’m trying to say is this: love people, hate evil, don’t mix the two. Our motivation should not be to win popularity for ourselves or for the Church, but to bring freedom to those that are captive to sin, to bring the hope of the Gospel to the hopeless, and to bring God the glory. Grieve over your sin, turn away from it, and teach others to do the same.