Autumn leaves by Mary Aldwinckle
‘Where is your faith?’ is a good question to ask yourself now and again. I can’t seem to get away from the basics.
Someone has said, ‘confession is good for the soul,’ and repentance, a change of mind, goes hand in hand with confession.
Is repentance linked with remorse?
It is for me. More often than not, I wallow in the latter before I get to the former.
The former stems from faith in God, the latter stems from a high expectation of self. While it may feel natural and even righteous, it leads to more sorrow.
The prophet Isaiah is God’s messenger when he says, ‘come now let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are as scarlet they will be white as snow.’ (Isaiah 1:18, my paraphrase)
And God has expectations of people doing justly- a wide ranging command if there ever was one. It applies in the home as much as the workplace and the wider world.
This process of confession involves reasoning. So why does the human spirit shrink from it? Why do I invariably start with remorse and wallow in self-pity, about whatever in the past that I could have done differently, and so not be where I am now? I really don’t know why, but I have to make a choice- that involves ‘confession’ of some basic facts; for example, that I’m not the centre of the universe and that it’s ok when I don’t get all that’s owed to me.
Don’t get me wrong: all of us like to see a just come-uppance. Isn’t that the attraction of Hollywood movies (usually) where the good guys get what they deserve and the baddies and victims get ‘justice?’
As I look around at my world, I see it shrink when it’s all about me but I can choose to turn around, confess my remorse and self- pity.
I can choose to keep growing, to keep loving, to keep being grateful.
I can also know that I’m forgiven, and free not to be remorseful.
Some see this as ‘less empowering,’ especially when having to let go of what’s owed. In today’s world, I’m aware (after the prophet’s unsubtle reminder),of my responsibilities, not just my rights.
Autumn colours by author