David was in great pain, presumably as a result of unconfessed sin. In the midst of his moaning about his pain, he confessed the sin. Then he urged God to save him. This raises a question about repentance.
Am I sorry for the bad things I’ve done or am I sorry for the consequences of the sin?
Am I sorry I have offended God and hurt people or am I sorry because I feel badly about it?
Repentance requires a recognition of my sin.
Recognition of sin makes me sorry that I did it.
Sorrow makes me feel badly that I’m a sinner.
Forgiveness makes me feel better.
So here’s the dilemma. When I repent, do I ask for forgiveness so I’ll feel better?
While I was writing my chapter of A Dozen Apologies, I wrestled with this problem. Mara, the main character asked a lot of men for forgiveness. She did it in obedience to Jesus’ instruction that we should be reconciled to anyone who has something against us before we offer our sacrifice on the altar. (Matthew 5:23-24) It was a really hard thing for her to do. But some of them questioned her motives. Did she say she was sorry because she wanted to be forgiven or because she was sorry?
When I sin, should I say “I’m sorry”or should I just say “Please forgive me?”
Maybe this is a false dilemma. But I think it addresses the true nature of repentance. It makes me look a little deeper when I see my sin. It makes me turn to God to ask for true repentance.
Mara’s journey of repentance is being published right now. You can read her story here. I hope you enjoy it.