Repentance is costly. Hosea says that there is a specific cost in repentance. “Take away all iniquity…and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips.” The Israelites were to make the proper sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon names the specifics. We have to bring something beyond bulls and lambs and goats. We need to bring a repentant heart. “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Pro 28:13). The cost of repentance is that we confess and forsake our sins and make no excuses. Here are some common excuses why Christians do not repent and fail to grow and change.
1. The person who waters it down. “It’s no big deal!” “Let’s move on…”
2. Blame-shifting: I’m hot blooded. I’m Irish or Italian or Latin. You just don’t know who I’m married to, who I work with, what has happened to me…
3. God’s just going to have to soften my heart, I’ll give that person the silent treatment until they give in.
4. Revenge: I’ll punish so and so for hurting me… I’m vindicated with my anger and sin because of what was done for me.
5. The person who wallows in it. “Poor me!” “I got caught!” “How stupid!”
6. Self- pity: I hate myself. I’ll never change.
7. Excuses: I prayed for God to take this sin away, but he didn’t answer. I’m not as hot headed as my father…
8. The person who works to get rid of it (penance). “I’ll make up for this.” I’ll read another book, I’ll see another guru, I’ll go to an-other church service.
9. The victim mentality: My sin is different from everyone else’s. You don’t know what I’ve gone through.
All of these ways of thinking are ways to escape responsibility. They are twisted, lawless, selfish ways of thinking. We must forsake our sin and half-hearted repentance. It is when we repent that we experience the “refreshing” from the Lord. “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20).