The word ‘repentance’ has such a negative connotation to some people. They flee the word like it was a ‘cancer’, they object to hearing it preached as though it were a poison being fed to them. Some have felt compelled to say words of ‘repentance’ for things they did not feel guilty of. They may lie totally when told to repent, or change the wording a bit to things like “I am sorry you think I did wrong’. Guilt for such half hearted, at best, repentance makes them see ‘repentance’ as a sham, a needless and worthless ritual. In that kind of case, it is.
False repentance is like the person speeding and is pulled over by the policeman. He says he is sorry, and repents, hoping to not get a ticket. Yet, his mind about speeding is not changed, he still will, without regret, speed again, with only a more watchful eye to be sure the policeman is not looking. That kind of repentance is sham.
The man caught with pornographic material may repent to his wife, and find a new hiding place for his pornography. That is false repentance.
The gossip may be caught in a lie, and apologize to the victim, but while doing so, share some other gossip with the person. That was only sorrow for being ‘caught’ in that one gossip tale. There was no change of attitude, no transformation of mind concerning gossip occurring. That was false repentance.
Sorrow when one is ‘caught’ in sin, is not true repentance. Repentance when one is shamed, evidently guilty, and yet there is no desire or willingness to make drastic change to one’s thinking on the sinful practice, is false repentance.
Remorse of conscience, remorse for shameful behavior, is not true repentance unless there is ‘godly’ sorrow, wherein in the privacy of one’s heart, one faces a holy God and confesses and asks for transformation from what God identifies as sin.
Until one ‘abhors’ the sin, hates what the sin did to one’s person, and one’s relationship with a holy God, it is false repentance, that makes a mockery of what true repentance is.
False repentance leaves feelings unchanged. False repentance seeks to replace true repentance with hypocritical concealment. False repentance is companion with excuses for sin, and justifying of the need of one to have done so due to supposed circumstances. False repentance produces only a slight adjustment in one’s behavior. False repentance only sees the need of the adjustment of one’s sin in which they were caught, and do not see it as a need to have the whole person enter a transformation process that will last until we get our new heavenly bodies.
True repentance results in the person taking those besetting sins that totally dominated one before repentance, and making them the most resisted, the most conquered, the now dominated aspect of their lives. They now see those ‘besetting’ sins as enemies to be shunned, hated, and revenged if they ever seek to gain control once again.
True repentance glories in the new burden of the Lord Jesus to be a light burden, an easy thing to bear.
Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)
28 Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
Some call ‘repentance’ to be spurious, burdensome, repugnant, and a blight on Christianity, that person is not ‘repentant’ in the true sense of the word. Some have experienced only false repentance, and are experiencing the worthlessness of the false. Some are hypocrites pretending salvation, and do not want repentance of change of mind of their thinking toward their sins. Some others are backslidden and do not want to be convicted again, and need to give up and change their mind toward their beloved sins. When real ‘repentance’ takes place, the angels in heaven rejoice.