When Down is Up - Heartfelt Repentance - James 4:9-10

James 4:9-10, repentance, confession, un-sanctified mercy
We must be careful not to interfere with the conviction of the Holy Spirit...
 
She told our small group that God had spoken to her heart and revealed she was jealous and vindictive. Because I knew some of the problems she'd caused her roommates, I was relieved. 

But before her repentant words were out of her mouth, several members of our small group doused them with "unsanctified mercy." When she left that day, she was convinced she'd been too hard on herself.

Thinking they were being "nice," her friends had actually encouraged her to ignore the Holy Spirit. They didn't realize that sometimes down is up. Being sorrowful for sin is a good thing.

"Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor." James 4:9-10 NLT

Let's see sin for what it is and respond appropriately.

If you'd like to do a short Bible study on this devotion, click HERE.


6 comments:

  1. Amen, Gail. That's why I encourage people to say, "I was wrong. Will you forgive me?" That is more direct and tends to elicit a better response. "I'm sorry" is all about emotions, and especially we women tend to want to help others deal with negative emotions.

    But sometimes we have to be strong in our repentance. When I told a friend, "I was wrong. Will you forgive me?" she said, "No problem. We all make mistakes." I had to continue, "No, this was a sin problem. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?" She got it. She forgave.

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    1. Great insights, Dawn.

      I've had similar experiences when confessing sin (i.e. having someone brush it off), and I've not always been successful in getting them to acknowledge my request for forgiveness.

      I remember a situation with my father in particular when I confessed a number of sins from my past to him. He had trouble even letting me finish, and I feel like he was telling me that everything I'd done was already forgiven long ago. But I think it was still important for me to confess to him.

      I like your approach with your friend.

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  2. Um, yes! I've been guilty of this myself, downplaying something that needed to change just because I didn't want someone to feel bad about themselves. We need to trust that God can make them feel better when he gives them grace and forgiveness after they repent, and we don't need to preempt his process. Excellent insight you have here!

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    1. So true, Lisa. I think how John the Baptist told the Pharisees who came to him for baptism that they must prove their repentance (Matthew 3:8) and Paul said something similar in Acts 26:20. I think we've gotten away from holding others accountable for sin--maybe because we don't want to be held accountable ourselves or maybe just because it's not done much in our culture.

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  3. Dear Gail
    This, dear friend, is so necessary! I don't think true repentance from the heart is possible without quite a lot of sadness and heartache! Thanks for this wisdom!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

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    1. Motherhood helped me identify genuine repentance and false repentance. We can always tell when our children are sincere or simply trying to get out of a punishment. And we are like that ourselves.

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