DAY 12 – The Gift of Repentance
12 ELUL 5769
When I was around seven or eight years old, I did something that shocked my family out of moral complacency. I cursed a man out because he repeatedly refused to allow his niece to come out and play with me. (Hmm…, I wonder what gave him concern). My cousin, Tom who is three years older than me – jerked his head towards me in shock as the words came spewing forth out of my mouth. Without hesitation, this ringleader of mischief broke the code of juvenile honor and immediately went home to tell his mother, my Aunt Gloria.
Now Aunt Gloria does not believe in spanking children. I can’t remember her ever giving any of us a spanking EXCEPT for me on that fateful day when I lost my pre-adolescent mind. My actions shocked her out of making nice with bad behavior, and with her house shoe she spanked me all the way back to the house of the verbally assaulted fellow (who I don’t believe was shocked at all) to deliver a very repentant “I’m sorry for saying all those mean things.” After my heartfelt apology, I was spanked all the way back down the street, into the apartment and into my room. I cried myself to sleep.
Now for those of you who are freaking out about child abuse – believe me – this was not one of those situations. I still remember feeling very sorry for what I had done and the spanking (not beating) given by someone I knew who loved me, brought home the gravity of my actions. It is one of my earliest memories of embracing the Gift of Repentance. I realized I had done wrong. I wanted to make it right.
In my lifetime, I have experienced many opportunities to embrace the Gift.
The most frightening times have been when I have seen what was in my heart – a stubbornness, an anger, or selfishness and I did not want to change. Sometimes it was blatant rebellion and other times it was very subtle compromises. In any event what startled me most times back to my senses was my refusal to change in the moment. Even my rational thinking brain would begin stating “you know you are not in your “right mind” because if you were thinking straight you would ….”
I pray my heart is always soft and responsive to the convictions of the Lord. It’s not easy being corrected. I just hope I can receive correction and reproof graciously – regardless of how it may come.
Isaiah 57:15 | For this is what the high and lofty One says— He who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”