Thursday, February 9, 2012

True repentance

To sin and separate ourselves from God is totally a personal act initiated by a personal decision and an action that fulfills the former decision. The sole onus of the sin lies on the individual. Therefore no one else can be held responsible of my sin except myself. But contrarily, to hate sin and come back to embrace God’s love requires more than a personal decision and action. It requires the supernatural assistance called the grace of God. No one comes to God expect by his mercy. This mercy is not available beyond our death.

The one who perseveres in sin due to ignorance or wrong understanding is more likely to receive the Grace of God to change than those who consciously persevere in offending God despite adequate knowledge of the inappropriateness of his action. God’s intervention in Saul’s life [by throwing him off the horse] was not a result of his repentance but due to the genuinity of his intention to serve God. A true return to God is characterized by the following:

True contrition
Contrition is the act of repenting and coming back to God.  If ones decision to discontinue sin is due to a personal agenda other than that which arises from the true awareness of him grievously offending God - the eternal goodness, his contrition is not efficacious.

Interior remorse
True repentance is characterized by a deep interior remorse like that of the people of Nineveh, or the women who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears. True remorse leads to penance, the physical expression of the interior change. External expression without an internal change is again a vain act of fooling God.

Hate sin as a whole
The one who desires a journey back to God, [by the grace of God] must hate every instance of sin by recognizing the nature of sin as whole, not just the specific sin that he has committed in the recent past.

Sin no more
One who walks into the confessional without a firm determination not to commit sins anymore is not a true penitent but someone who intends to look better externally for the sake of recognition and acceptance. True penitent approaches God’s merciful throne, desiring never to offend God again and concedes his willingness to opt death [death as consequence of choosing not to sin] instead of having to sin. We know of saintly lives that opted death instead of sin. This is because ‘sin’ leads to permanent loss of the soul but physical death is only a temporary passing over to eternity.

Since the sinful nature of man does not leave him overnight, he must continue to persevere in the like manner every time he falls in sin despite his genuine intentions. Remember to examine our consciousness to see if our intentions are genuine and there is no secret love any form of sin within us.

We must pray for God’s grace to truly repent for our sins and for the wisdom to know the truth about sin [magnitude, consequence and effect of sin] and to truly grasp the depth of God’s love that is so desires our salvation [restoring us to our original image]