Nobody knows they’re proud, and until you see it you can’t repent of your pride. And if you can’t repent of your pride, you can’t be saved. The journey of life and the interaction with people, especially with one’s spouse and children and in-laws, is simply a journey of self-exposure, yet few ever see themselves. They live in the hurt of their feelings and analyse right and wrong from their hurt feelings and blame everyone else for their problems. Very few people ever stop to see that their reaction to their feelings is an exposure of their own pride. All they can see is the injustice done to them.
The pride of human nature inherently prefers to blame others instead of taking the blame. Jesus took the blame and until you do, you can’t walk the same walk.
Let’s look at this from a different direction …
“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness “ 1John 1:9
But, what is confession?
Most think it’s making a list of the things we’ve done wrong and pronouncing them out with a sorry heart. Thus the Roman Catholic Church takes full advantage of this both financially and fearfully by telling people to confess to the priest and do penance for your sins or you will go to hell.
But what is God’s perspective of confession?
Perhaps a better way to look at confession is to look at what confession is not.
- You can’t confess unless you repent. That is, if you don’t repent you can’t confess.
- Repentance isn’t listing your wrongs
- Repentance isn’t trying to feel bad that you’ve done something wrong
- Repentance isn’t saying sorry and then expecting the other party to say sorry too.
- Repentance isn’t saying sorry and then expecting the authority to accept your apology and to be responsible to make you feel better. Repentance isn’t telling the other person how to behave towards you.
- Repentance isn’t saying I forgive you now you are obligated to forgive me.
- Repentance does not require reconciliation with the person that has hurt you. David did not reconcile with Saul even though Saul apologised.
- Repentance doesn’t demand a fair hearing. It’s an exposure of pride when one has a mood over the injustice.
- Repentance isn’t justifying your position when someone has hurt your feelings. Most people analyse wrong, based on their feelings…” if I feel bad then you’re wrong and you are the problem”. You’ll never find repentance by saying sorry based on your bad feelings.
- Repentance doesn’t say sorry and then add ‘but you hurt me and you deserve to be punished’
- Repentance can’t be enacted when you have made yourself the judge of right and wrong
- Repentance can’t be enacted if you don’t think you’re wrong. If you think you’re always right there’s nothing to say sorry for.
- If you can’t see your sin you can’t repent
- Repentance isn’t living in the fear that you may not have repented correctly, or living in the fear of what you think of me.
- You can’t repent from a position of elevation above your neighbour. It’s a contradiction to say I’m sorry and still hold a grievance or envy against your neighbour. It’s a contradiction to say I’m sorry and still think you are better than your husband.
- It’s a contradiction to say I’m repentant and still retain a mood that you’re not getting what you want
- Repentance isn’t waiting till you think you will never make the same mistake again; and repentance isn’t never making the same mistake again; that’s self-righteous perfectionism.
- Repentance isn’t saying “if I’ve done something wrong, then I’m sorry”. Repentance apologises knowing that it did the wrong.
If you can’t find repentance then you can’t find salvation (Acts 3:19), and you have to find out that you really are a sinner before you can come to genuine repentance.
You can’t repent and still hold blame
You can’t say “yes, I’m a sinner” but in your heart blame the other party for making you sin. If someone makes you sin them God is simply using them to show you that you do sin even though you think you don’t. If you concentrate on the hurt instead of seeing your sinful nature you waste the exercise. Adam might have confessed to God that he had sinned but in his heart he still blamed Eve for making him sin. That’s fake repentance. He didn’t take the blame for his sin, but blamed instead. Thus he was removed from the Garden and from God’s presence.
The truth is, Adam is solely responsible for his sin. Eve was just an instrument that exposed his heart and until Adam takes full responsibility without proportioning blame, he can’t repent and he can’t be saved. You won’t see Adam and Eve in heaven. They did not repent.
God’s grace isn’t just to protect you and to give you goodies; it’s also to put you in uncomfortable situations to expose your sinful nature to yourself. If you’re battling with your wife or children, one of the prime purposes of it is so you see your own sin by being battered by the spiritual opposition, to bring you to trust God and repent of your selfish motives. Kicking at your wife is not the answer; you have to weather the storm until you find faith.
It’s not the ‘do’; it’s the spirit you are under the influence of
Sin is inherent in every human being. If you think you’re good but just make a few minor wrongs, then you’re blind to your inherent sin because even the thought that you’re good is an anti-Christ thought proving that you are under the influence of a demonic power. Even Jesus never said He was good; He said only God is good. If you think you are basically good your mind is being manipulated by Satan’s lies and you are ignorantly protecting your pride.
Satan’s measurement system
A person under the influence of Holy Spirit doesn’t think they are good or bad. They don’t weigh up their relationship with God based on good or bad (that’s Satan’s measurement system); they just know they are a sinner saved by His grace alone. The voice of Satan tells you that you are good or bad. The voice of God tells you that you are a sinner. If you can’t hear that voice, you have not been saved into His kingdom.
God measures ‘meekness’ not goodness.
Pride is not only elevation above your neighbour, but also measuring yourself as inferior compared to your neighbour
If you elevate yourself above or de-elevate yourself below your neighbour then you have set yourself up as the judge of who is right and thus you have sinned even though your neighbour may have been the initiator of the problem and even though you may be right. The purpose of someone sinning is to get you to sin too eg Adam and Eve, and the purpose of sin is to get you away from the Creator. Judging your neighbour or judging yourself by your neighbour’s standard is contravening the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself, and thus it’s sin because it fractures the Ten Commandments. Not only that, but you are putting yourself in God’s position.
So even though you may argue that you never do anything bad, what sin can’t see is that you have made yourself the judge of your own goodness and the judge of their badness and that is the top echelon of sin because that’s what Satan did. And, once you’re in that self-deception, you can’t repent because you can only see your own goodness and their badness, when the real sin is’ judge’.
Personally, I don’t try not to sin, I try not to judge with elevation. I listen to my feelings but I always try and stop to ask God’s opinion about what I’m feeling, before I automatically react to me feelings and get sucked into my pride. You can only make a correct judgment from a base of meekness; you can never make a correct judgment from a position of elevated pride above your neighbour.
I’m good. Jesus wouldn’t desert me!
Repentance can’t be initiated unless you see your sin. A lot of Christians don’t want to see their sin so they don’t feel bad or look bad in the eyes of others. They ignorantly deduce that they are not responsible for their sin unless they can see it. If you judge yourself as good, then you won’t see your sin, but you’ll still be responsible for it, and in fact, if you judge yourself as good then you’re the sinner who’ll never find repentance. If you think you’re good then you can’t be corrected for wrong, and if you can’t be corrected then you are a bastard and not a son.
The truth is, if you believe you’re good, you contradict Jesus who said that no one is good except God, and you disqualify yourself from salvation because Jesus didn’t come to save the good; He came to save the bad.
In simplicity, Pride is stepping out of faith; Repentance is stepping back into faith.
Repentance can’t be initiated without faith … ‘whatever is not of faith is sin’.
Ok, so what is repentance?
Repentance is an acknowledgement that you’re the one who has done wrong and you’re the one who has defended your own rights instead of trusting God, and thus softening your heart and letting go your rights by returning to trust God’s plan.
As in the Garden of Eden, anytime there’s guilt, any time there’s telling and intimidation or manipulation or obligation, any time there’s deception, any time there’s fear, anytime there’s blame, any time there’s envy, know that Satan is trying to get you to step out of faith into elevation or de-elevation (which is really the same thing), and into fear or frustration and thus trap you in the web of sin. You can see your pride if you’re willing to see that you both employ and experience the above emotions.
The answer isn’t to try and never fall; that’s self-righteous salvation; that’s trying to save yourself. The answer is surrender. Everyone thinks that love is being nice to people, but that’s a lie because it’s really a selfish con to be liked by everyone. The truth is, love is surrender to the will of God, and only from that position will you be able to repent.
Because Jesus totally surrendered to the will of God and let his enemy kill Him, He never had to repent because He never sinned, and because He never sinned He has been given the authority to annul the penalty for our sins, but only if we genuinely repent … Luke 13:3.
Victory over your pride is not just a once–off decision; it’s a daily choice to sacrifice your will by repenting of your pride when you fail to rely on God’s faith …. Luke 9:23.
Communion is celebrating the grateful right to drink the cup and eat the bread because we have judged and sinned but thankfully Jesus never did. In 1 Cor.11:28,31,32 it clearly states that the right to the blood and body of Christ is via the pathway of self-examination, and that this self-examination is via the pathway of chastening because only via this route can anyone ever see that they don’t deserve God’s grace.
May God chasten his remnant to save us from the world.
Pastor William Terence