Category Archives: Repentance

I’m Sorry

I'm sorry“I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi wasn’t the first to express it and he certainly won’t be the last. And to be honest, I understand his sentiments.

“Christians aren’t perfect, we’re just saved.” It’s a popular bumper sticker and while it is true it is far too often used as an excuse for behaving badly.

Sometimes Christians can be rude and selfish and greedy… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians can walk right past others and not even give them the time of day, as if they don’t even exist… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians can look down their nose at others and judge them for their sins while ignoring their own sins… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians can be so opinionated about a subject that they won’t even listen to someone with a differing opinion… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians gossip about others… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians act one way at Church and a different way at work or at school… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians act like they have life all figured out and that their life is perfect even when they don’t and it isn’t… I’m sorry.

I’ve lived half of a century (now I feel old!) and in that time I’ve served four different churches and been involved with many, many others. This lack of consistent living is widespread and common.

I’m sure you can add to this list but you get the idea. And since I’m being honest I will admit that I’m sometimes guilty of these same things.

Being a Christian is more than wearing a title, professing certain beliefs, sitting in a church service for one hour a week and following a formula to have a ticket stamped for life beyond this life. It means actively following Jesus to become like Him. It means learning to think and believe and feel and act like Jesus more and more. It means loving God and others every moment of every day.

We won’t get it right all the time; but that’s no excuse for not giving ourselves to the journey of doing life with God and learning to love like Jesus. And when we get it wrong we need to own it and apologize for it.

Note to my Christian friends: If you’re reading this and thinking, “Yeah, but they…” Stop right there! Every person will one day stand before God to give an account of their life and their actions. NO ONE will be able to excuse their behavior by saying, “Yeah, but they…” We will be responsible for ourselves then so we might as well start being responsible for ourselves now.

One last confession: If my hope were in other Christians I would have given up on the Church and Christianity a long time ago. Some of my greatest blessings have come from other believers but so have some of my greatest hurts.

My hope rests in Christ Jesus alone! He is the only one who makes this messy, imperfect journey worthwhile.

Who is your hope in?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Accountability, Christ, Christianity, Church, Confession, God, Hope, involvement with the church, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Repentance, Sin

Even good men fall hard

Kelsey is a cute, energetic 10-years-old girl who is part of my wife’s Sunday School class. As they were discussing King David’s sin and repentance they penciled the word God inside a big circle along with a variety of different sins.

They erased the sins to represent God’s forgiveness when we repent and some of the pencil marks remained. That’s when Kelsey made her observation.

The left over marks are the scars of our mistakes. Even though God forgives us there are still consequences that we have to live with and relationships that have to be rebuilt. (My paraphrase)

It was a simple observation wise beyond her years.

David went from shepherd boy to king because he was a man after God’s own heart. The core of his being was in rhythm with the heart of God and all that mattered to God.

Under David’s leadership Israel accomplished many victories on the battlefield and experienced a time of great peace and prosperity. But even good men fall hard. And David was no exception.

David committed adultery, treachery in trying to cover it up and eventually outright murder. How is it that a man who did all these things is still known as a man after God’s own heart?

While David wasn’t perfect, his repentance was genuine.

When King Saul was confronted about his disobedience towards God he made excuses. But David took full ownership of his sins and was sincerely sorry for what he had done.

Sin is almost a taboo subject today even among Christians and churches. We generally dismiss it or down play it or reshape it… in short, we justify.

God hates sin because it not only hurts people but it interferes with our relationships – both with Him and with others. When we walk according to His boundaries we open ourselves to experience life and relationships in a fresh, new way. (See 1 John 1:5-10)

God’s grace is always bigger than our biggest sins. That’s no excuse to knowingly sin, but it means that no matter how many times we stumble we can get back up and once again walk with God. We can be refreshed.

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” ~ Acts 3:19-20

When we genuinely repent and return to putting God first, as David did, we can be people after God’s own heart.

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If you’re following along in The Story read chapter(s) 13 for this week. If you’re unfamiliar with The Story you can check it out on the page tab above.

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Forgiveness, Grace, Guilt, intimacy with the Lord, Repentance, Sin, The Story

A 600 year old promise fulfilled!

I love it when a promise is kept and I enjoy keeping promises I’ve made. There is something very special that happens in relationships when promises are fulfilled.

  • Trust grows and deepens.
  • A sense of value is experienced.
  •  And we are imitating our heavenly Father.

God had promised Abraham that his descendants would one day inhabit the land of Canaan (Genesis 15:16). God used Joshua to make good on that 600 year old promise, and has given them everything they need to be a great nation:

  • A set of guidelines on how to live,
  • His presence in the tabernacle,
  • A way to reconcile their sins, and
  • The land he had promised their ancestors.

But it isn’t enough!

The Israelites abandon God to worship false, pagan gods. Angered, God turns them over to be oppressed by neighboring nations. They eventually repent and cry out to God for help. Graciously, God raises up a judge to rescue and lead them.

For a season of time the people follow God. But when that judge dies they once again abandon God to chase after false gods.

The period of Judges lasted roughly 330 years. During that time, the Israelites spent 111 years being oppressed by other nations because they repeat this same cycle – sin, oppression, repentance, deliverance – six times!

The people are slow to learn and fickle in their faithfulness; but God remains faithful.

There is no longer any condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1); but we are far from perfect and still wrestle with our sin nature. And so… we repent.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  ~ 1 John 1:8-9 (NLT)

Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you… ~ Acts 3:19 (MSG)

Even though we are slow to learn and fickle in our faithfulness, God remains faithful!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under Brokenness, Forgiveness, God, Grace, Guilt, Repentance, Sin