2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
The guilt of sin. Many of us (this author definitely included) have been there. Feeling wracked with despair, guilt and frustration over a sin you have committed and feel awful about. Or something you know you did wrong that no one may even know about it. But God always knows. So what do we do after we have sinned? The answer is repentance. And God, in His Wisdom, laid out the steps to repentance in the passage above.
The first step is humility. Even as a born again believer, you are still living a flesh and blood body from the Earth that carries with it, the sinful nature of humanity. The Apostle Paul, writing about the struggle to overcome sin said: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18). But the spirit a born again believer receives from God serves as the moral guide, pointing out those sins and making the believer feel such remorse and regret at breaking any command of God. Paul also wrote in the same chapter: “..but what I hate, that do I.” Do you hate your sin? Do you feel terrible after sin? Good! That is a sign of the spirit of God operating in you. The recognition that you have done wrong in the eyes of God and the feelings of sorrow about it is a sign of your love and respect for God and His authority. That is humility. Trying to justify or ignore your sin is just like hurting someone and then trying to explain why they deserved it or that it was no big deal. You are being prideful. Repentance requires us to let pride go and confess our wrongs that we chose to do.
Step two is prayer. Not at night. Not at a convenient hour. But right away. If you stepped on someone’s foot walking down the street, would you keep walking and plan on apologizing to the person the next time you ran into them? If you have any decency, you would apologize right away. If we don’t make strangers wait for an apology, do not make God, the Creator of the Universe wait either. Take the time to pray to God and confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. “Seeking God’s Face” is a way of looking for God’s grace and mercy.
The final step and a very important one is to “turn from your wicked ways.” God wants us to respect His authority and be humble but we should also change our behavior. If we are truly sorry and truly hate our sins, then we should stop doing them. Few things show a sincere heart more than changed behavior. If the sins you are committing seem to great to overcome or cease, go to the root. Whatever situations, people or vices are bringing the sinful temptations in your life, get rid of them or avoid them. Take the small steps to removing sin from your life and show The Lord that you mean business. Because you are not alone. God closes His promise by saying that not only will He forgive but that he will “heal.” Whatever pain or sinful desires or situations that are bringing you grief can be healed. you can overcome them. Not on your own, but with God. But the key is to let God come into our lives and fight these battles for us. God is more than willing and able to do this and bring us healing. We just need to repent. If you know you have done wrong. If you truly hate your sin, want forgiveness and a dramatic change in your life for the better, repent.