Accepting Responsibility: The First Step in Repentance
“It’s not my fault” seems to be the mantra of most people today. But it is a phrase as old as time. Since the beginning of time mankind has failed to take responsibility for his actions. When the first sin was committed Eve blamed the serpent. When confronted with his actions Adam blamed Eve and even blamed God for the evil which he himself had done.
After killing Abel, when asked about his actions, Cain tried to run from his own responsibility by saying “Am I my brother’s keeper?” From the earliest times until now, people simply do not want to accept responsibility for their actions. And this is one reason this Nation seems destined for destruction. Because until people stand up and take responsibility for their actions, then nothing will change.
The very first step in recovery from a destructive lifestyle is to admit the problem we have. To recognize that I am living wrong. I must recognize that the choices I have made, and continue to make are wrong choices and choices that will destroy me if not corrected.
The Bible is clear that every person will answer for how he has lived, and for the choices he has made.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10)
One day we will be judged by what we do, so we might as well admit it, and confront it now, so that we may repent of it and then we will not be faced with it in judgment. (Heb. 8:12)
Repentance is changing your mind about a certain thing. A person who has decided that his actions are keeping him from a right relationship with God must first accept that it is, in fact, his actions which are the problem. Then, based upon that knowledge coupled with godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10), repentance may now begin.
To repent means to change your mind, yet it is the beginning step in bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance. (Lk. 3:8) It is the determination to cease doing what you had been doing and live a different, and more godly way.
Notice the words of Jesus:
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. (Matt 21:28-32)
Notice a few things in this event. The first son was told to go and work, and he flatly refused. But afterward he repented, that is, he changed his mind. But he didn’t just have a change of mind. The penitent spirit led him to make better choices. He repented, and went and worked in the vineyard. Jesus then says to the Jewish leaders, that the publicans and harlots would enter into the kingdom before they ever would. Why?
Jesus tells them, because the publicans and harlots had recognized their sinfulness, and their godly sorrow brought forth a change in the choices they made and the life that they had been living. They believed and followed God’s teachings.
Yet these Jewish leaders saw no reason to repent. And because of their unwillingness to change their lives, they would not enter the kingdom.
Friends, we must accept that we all sin. We must recognize our own sin for what it is, and what it does. It is a transgression of God’s law, and it separates us from God. (1 Jn. 3:4; Isa 59:1-2)
Admitting to my sin is taking responsibility. Repenting, is recognizing that it is wrong, and changing my mind about living that way any longer, and then the fruit worthy of repentance, is the change of lifestyle that keeps me on the path that leads to eternal life.
Dear child of God, if you have unrepented sin, contemplate, admit it, repent, and live better.