Repentance Before Restoration
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness…” Galatians 6:1
Before reconciling with someone in a relationship there has to be repentance. Repentance means, “to turn around” or “to change.” Repentance involves humility, bringing one’s self low in surrender, asking for forgiveness. Repentance is about being sorry for making the choice to do wrong against a person or against God. We’ve all done wrong, and repentance is something we’ve all had to do in order to know God and to have healthy relationships. Repentance is something that we continually need to do when we do wrong to restore fellowship with one another.
To reconcile a relationship, repentance is a requirement. A “deal breaker” is a term that describes something that is nonnegotiable. Relationships require repentance; otherwise, it is like brushing a cheap coat of paint over rust. Without righting the wrong, the issue is still there. God requires it; so should we. Here are some principles for repentance:
- Recognize that what you did was wrong. You can’t repent if you don’t know that what you did was wrong.
- Be aware of the damage your wrong has caused. Trust cannot be reestablished if an offender trivializes instead of sympathizes.
- Approach God and others wronged with a contrite, humble heart. An offender does not deserve forgiveness, therferfore should not have a haughty attitude that demands forgiveness. (Psalm 51:17)
- Admit your wrongdoing to the Lord and the people you have offended. Don’t lie or misrepresent. Don’t shift blame. Don’t downplay. The sooner the admission, the better. (Jeremiah 3:13)
- Submit to God. Don’t try to fix yourself before going to God or others. He will transform you. People want to see God doing the work in you.
- Stop the wrongdoing. Change. If the behavior is repetitive or if the offender is controlled by their sin, that person may need counseling or deliverance. Do what you can to right the wrong.
- Ask for forgiveness. Ask for mercy. Perhaps God and the people you love will help ease the judgment you have brought on yourself.
- Ask for the opportunity to rebuild trust. Make a commitment to change. Show long-term proof of your change. (Matthew 3:8)
- Be accountable so trust can be rebuilt. Accept the consequences that cannot be reversed and move forward. (Galatians 6:7)
- Let God begin to heal and restore you and your relationships by His Spirit. God can only heal what we place in His hands. (Jer. 3:22)
Application: Once someone repents, be quick to forgive and reconcile the relationship. God did the same for you.