There is a difference we shall all do well to keep in mind between seeking repentance and merely seeking forgiveness. Merely seeking forgiveness is a self-serving attempt to assuage guilt feelings, while repentance involves a certain generosity of changing course. To repent means trying to bring forth the fruits of repentance, for the sake of Christ.
If you seek only forgiveness, just say you are sorry and receive absolution, you may achieve your objective of feeling emotionally better, but only for a short while. Your conscience, by no means deceived, will still know you have not changed your intentions; and very shortly, when the initial relief wears off, you will become aware, again, that your conscience is still paining you.
Repentance, by contrast, really works. Repentance is the only cure.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008