Repentance seems to be a long-forgotten word in our society today. In fact, no one likes to read about or talk about repentance. Therefore, I am very excited that you are reading this article. Repentance is seen as a very negative word, when in fact it is a very positive, restorative word. Repentance assures our future. Repentance means to realize you are going in the wrong direction and choosing the wrong actions, then choosing to turn and go a different direction. Repentance can only happen when someone realizes that they have done something wrong and then takes the responsibility for their actions, seeks forgiveness, and then turns their life in a different direction.
Today, it seems many people don’t seem to think they do anything wrong. We seem to have lost the moral core of our country and everyone does what they think is best. The lines of right and wrong are blurred. Even if someone realizes that they did something wrong, the easiest and most comfortable course of action is to make excuses for it or blame it on someone else.
Pride is the main obstacle that gets in the way of repentance. Pride keeps us from seeing a need for something different. Pride causes us to not take responsibility for our actions, but to put the blame on others. Pride says we are fine just the way we are. But look at our world today. It is certainly NOT fine the way it is and that is because we are not always fine the way we are.
At the beginning of our nation, when George Washington, our first President, gave his inaugural address in New York City on April 30, 1789, he said, “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself hath ordained.” We are a nation founded on the principals of God’s Word and have received favor for so many years. Yet, we only have to look back in history to see that God’s favor is lifted when a nation turns from God to follow its own ways.
Let’s start by looking at Israel. When God chose Israel and gave His laws to Moses on Mount Sinai, He promised the people that if they would obey His voice and keep His commandments that were based on the principles of love for God and love toward others, then God would give them prosperity and power to live in peace with the nations around them. But the other side of that promise was that if they chose to disobey and go their own way, living like the nations around them, then God would remove His blessing and they would decline from within and be defeated by the nations around them. If we look back in history we will see this played out time and time again, not only with Israel but with Egypt; Assyria; Babylon; The Roman Empire; Greece the Ottoman Empire; and the Soviet Union. The decline of these nations started with moral decline from within.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15
The breakdown of a nation begins with the breakdown of the family. Even the word family has been redefined to include many different kinds of structure today. In fact, in some schools, children are being taught to disregard what they are learning or told in their families. Nothing can stand secure without a strong structure and strong families create that kind of sound structure within a society.
The good news is that God promises if a person or a nation comes to Him with a repentant heart and turns from their wicked ways and again decides to follow His ways, then He will heal their heart and their land and once again restore order, peace and prosperity.
I believe our country is on the precipice of a decision to either continue on in its immoral and selfish ways or turn back in repentance toward God – back to the foundation we were founded on (a nation under God); back to the guidelines given to us by God. There are many Christian groups right now who are praying for this very thing. On September 26th, over 50,000 people gathered in Washington D.C. for repentance and prayer. We are part of a group called Unite714, where believers in 180 nations across the world are praying every day at 7:14 a.m. and 7:14 p.m. for repentance and the healing of our nation. This is based on God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where it says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” You can find the prayer at www.unite714.com.
How can we lead in turning our nation back to God? Here are a few strategies:
– First examine your own heart. Are there things that you need to change in your life?
– Change starts with each person.
– Be aware of what your children are seeing and being taught.
– Look around you and see the results of bad behavior and be an example of good behavior.
– Be aware of the connotation that you give to the idea of repentance. Do you see it as a positive thing or a negative thing?
– Don’t ever be hesitant to say you are sorry and, if possible, make restoration.
– Study countries that have flourished and countries that have fallen, and discover the actions that took them down the road of destruction.
– Teach your children how to see the error of their ways and the steps needed for repentance. Lead by example.
– Join millions in praying for our country to turn back to God.