Repentance & Restoration:A look at how God restores broken and sinful people Philip G. Monroe, PsyD Biblical Seminary firstname.lastname@example.org
The problem • There are two common responses to significant and public sins (abuse, addictions, moral failings, etc.) • Eternal punishment • Premature offerings of reconciliation and restoration • Is there a better way?
Where we’re going this hour • We’ll explore • The heart of the problem: desire • The gift of repentance: God’s mercy to broken, deceived, and sinful people • We’ll ask • What is true repentance? • What about restoration? • What are some steps towards both?
A Biblical View of Desire • We are made to desire God and his creation • God cares about and fulfills desire • PS 10:17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry • PS 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. • PS 103:5 …who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's • Mt 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
The Scriptures on Desire • Fulfilled desires are sweet • PR 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life • PR 13:19 A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul • PR 9:17 Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious! But little do they know… • PS 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
But… • But since sin entered the world… • We long for things that are out of reach • These unfulfilled longings are painful • We often turn good desires into demands • We desire too little rather than too much • We often want behavior management rather than transformation • We often overlook God’s gifts as did the Israelites!
Evil Desires leads to Deception… • Evil desires and the process of becoming deceived (and then dead) • The setup • Adversities (e.g., Num. 11:1-5) • Blessings (Deut. 6-8) • JER 5:7-8 Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes. They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man's wife.
Becoming dead • After the set-up… • Giving in to initial cravings (foolishness) • Being given over by God to them AND giving ourselves over to them • Rom. 1:18-28, Eph. 4:17-22, 1 Pet 4:3 • Ps. 78, Micah 6:14, Isa 9:20 • The effect? (Eze. 20:24; 23) • Waking up dead (Eze. 6:9) • Dead emotions, defensiveness, inability to hurt for others, etc.
Biblical Imagery of Repentance • The bible links future blessings (not present blessings!) with covenant faithfulness (and punishment with rebellion) • 2 Chron 7:13, Isa 59f, Eze 18:32, Luke 13 and 17, Rev. • God’s kindness, sacrifice, and forgiveness lead us to repentance • Isa 59:15f-, Rom 2:4, Heb 10:12f, Eph • But, there is a fruit in keeping with repentance, including Godly sorrow • Matt 3:8f, 2 Cor 7:9
What is Godly repentance? • Honest admission of fault • e.g., Moses, Isaiah, Paul, but NOT Saul, or Adam & Eve • Does x openly acknowledge the behavior and seek to understand its impact on others? • Does x accept consequences without excuse or demand for trust and immediate forgiveness? • Sacrificial efforts to repair the problem • e.g., Zacchaeus • If abuse, does x give emotional/physical space for healing? • Does x offer economic and material help for healing?
What is Godly Repentance? • Accepts and flourishes under discipline • Willingness to seek maturity through time and cultivation; doesn’t demand limits to discipline but seeks discipleship and ownership • Does x accept discipline and the microscope with joy? • Does x see fruit change as a life-time project?
What hinders Godly repentance? • Deception • Pride • Habits of spiritualistic language • Blameshifting • Church leaders who are • Unwilling to get down in the mud and deal with the anger, hurt, fear, etc. without a time-table • Seeking cover-up for the “sake of the church” • Demand recompense or reconciliation NOW • Unable to see past the façade of those involved
So, what can we do? • Remember Gal 6:1: restore gently • Keep pointing to the bigger picture • Connect them with wise folk who “have been there” • Gently uncover deceptions & blameshifting • Give them community and times unrelated to sin focus
What about restoration, reconciliation? • What’s our picture? • One day, there will be no more… • Even here, we seek forgiveness and restoration (even in excommunication!) • Yet we recognize not all can be made right here. Christ still bears the nail scars • We prepare hearts and attitudes for healing. We pray for God’s power to be made evident. We participate in the transition from this world to the next (Volf, The End of Memory)
Some questions • Does forgiveness and restoration = reconciliation? Does saying I forgive you mean I have to be vulnerable with you? Live with you? • Restoration to what? • Restoration to the body? Restoration to the position? • Who sets the agenda? The offender or the victim? Whom do you side with? What to do when the victim refuses restoration?
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