Deciding to repent or change for good can be a thing of joy. But sometimes repentance can be hard on us. It’s the reason a lot of people don’t want to think about it. Let’s look at the pains repentance can cause and also find ways to use this knowledge to cope better with the painful feelings we face in these moments of change.
Before we jump into the real details lets understand what repentance is.
What is Repentance?
Repentance has many definitions but there is one that can change our lives.
Repentance means to change one’s mind. It involves a decision to change our minds and attitudes on a particular thing. This change has nothing to do with emotions; in fact, repentance almost always goes against our emotions.
It is a point where we decide to stop doing a particular thing. A point where we decide to stop behaving a certain way or stop doing a certain thing.
It is that time where you decide to stop reacting in a certain way to a particular thing.
A point where you just decide to stop crying; to stop smoking; to stop waking up late; to stop overeating; to stop gambling; to stop fornicating; as the case may be.
Repentance is not about spirituality or emotions. It is that firm resolve that you stick to and blatantly defy the urge that may come to you now and then to go back to your old ways.
Repentance is a decision! Repentance is a choice!
Why we may feel Pain when we Repent
When we repent or change, it can cause us mental and emotional pain. This is why many people don’t yield to the idea of repenting. They don’t want to repent even when they stand to benefit from the change. They just don’t want that feeling.
But if we must become better, if we must reach new heights in life, we will at some point need to change, we’ll need to repent.
Let’s talk about a few reasons repentance hurts so much.
We lose something
It hurts to lose something and every time we repent, we lose, let go, or sacrifice something. This is one of the reasons repentance hurts.
It involves letting go. But even when we are letting go of something for our own good, it can still hurt.
What we do in our lives, the actions we take are mostly influenced by the people and the things we have in our lives.
Whenever we assess our lives based on the knowledge we have, we always find things we need to change. You may need to perform better in an area of your life. You may need to change a way of behaviour. But in almost all instances, we find that the lifestyle we want to change is caused by something or someone in our lives.
At that point, for us to change we would need to get rid of the thing(s) causing us to have this behaviour.
This is where it can get difficult. Sometimes the thing you need to get rid of as you decide to change is something you love; it may be something you’ve spent a lot of time with; it may be someone you share many memories with. You may have to let go of a friend; it may even be a job.
Removing these things from our lives in moments of repentance can hurt. Sometimes the pain may stay with you for many days. This is the reality of the situation.
It involves change
If there is no change then there has been no repentance. Repentance involves change and many times it’s going to hurt.
Change can be difficult. To stop doing what your body is used to is difficult. Taking your mind and body out of its comfort zone could be difficult.
But anyone who wishes to do or become anything worthwhile has to realise there will always be a time of change in life.
Many people are stuck in life, many have also died without making a mark because they didn’t know how to repent when it was necessary. They never changed their minds concerning anything that wasn’t working. They had great difficulty changing or leaving their comfort zones.
The Comfort zone has destroyed many destinies. And comfort zones don’t always imply “comfort.” I believe anything you have gotten used to can be a “comfort zone.” Sometimes you are not finding any comfort in it, you are just so used to it and so it has in some way become a ‘comfort zone.’
You can’t bear to get out of it because you are scared of things you are not used to. This is the problem with many destinies. It’s not witchcraftcy, it’s not the lack of money or talent. It is their inability to change from something they are used to. They are unable to switch to something they are not used to.
It’s their inability to change from a lifestyle they have had all their lives. And this is why a lot of people are stuck in life.
I tell you, if you want to become anything useful, you need to learn to change when it is necessary. And where it involves a kind of pain, you need to learn to push through that pain for the glory that awaits in the nearest future.
Repentance involves submission and Total Surrender
The other reason repentance can be painful is the fact that it involves submission. Sometimes you have to put aside what you know and who you are. It involves surrendering your powers for the greater good.
The things you know, the principles, your belief system, are part of the things that give us a strong identity. Repentance most times will involve a total surrender of those things.
At times it involves submitting to people who can’t do what they preach. It’s a situation where you obey the teaching of someone who won’t even do what they teach. But you obey the teaching because it is good and true.
It is a point where you let go of things you’ve held onto for so long. It is a point where you give up your rights and benefits for the greater good.
This often comes into play in the case of forgiveness. Where you give up your right to hurt; you give up your right to hate, and allow mercy and peace to take over. A point where you just do these because you have surrendered to God’s command for us to forgive and to show mercy.
You know you were hurt, in fact, it still hurts, but you surrender your will to God and take up mercy and peace.
It can get lonely most times. This is because you are the only one who really knows how you feel. Sometimes you do forgive and no one else knows you’ve given up something you’ve held in your heart for so long. When you surrender like that, when you give up your rights like that, it can hurt and it can be lonely.
I remember when I had to forgive a relative. I had held up that hurt for a long time. I had every reason to hurt them too, I had every reason not to forgive them, I wasn’t even talking to them at the time. But one day, by the grace of God, I decided to surrender all, let go of everything. I didn’t even know what I was feeling, I think I was lost in sorrow. I just simply forgave. It was one of those low moments. But the hurt I felt was short-lived and the freedom I feel now is a good thing. Today, we are living fine.
In fact, at the time, they didn’t even care to ask for forgiveness or feel remorse for the things they did. We are all enjoying the result of that decision I made, but who cares? Only me. And I don’t let anything bother me. I went on with it anyway. I survived the temporary odd feelings and believe me, I’m stronger now.
Revenge looks appealing. But I tell you that people who forgive are stronger. It takes real strength to forgive and only strong people do it.
Now that we know why repentance hurts, let’s look at other facts that will give us more knowledge on repentance and how to deal with the pains that accompany it.
The pains of Repentance won’t last
A time of repentance can be a time of sorrow. But I tell you from experience that the pain won’t last. We were built to adapt and survive things. Something similar happens when we repent for good but then feel hurt and lonely.
But here is the thing, since what you did was for good, you will feel peace and freedom. You may feel pain at first but the pain won’t last. Slowly and peacefully they fade away and you begin to feel a great deal of joy, strength, and freedom.
In the case of forgiveness, since it is God’s command, you will find that you are at peace with yourself, with God, and with man. You will find yourself in a state of enormous peace and freedom.
You’ll get used to it
The thing about human beings is that we are built to survive and adapt. People who have succeeded in repentance and change know that after a while you get used to your new state.
If we put our minds in a particular position and keep forcing it there, over time, it will begin to adapt to that new state. And what used to be impossible will start feeling normal. This is why we shouldn’t be afraid of the short pains we may feel when we first switch from our comfort zones.
Don’t get too emotional
Repentance can cause you to feel low. But as you now know, this feeling is temporary and will give way to better things in no time.
You don’t have to allow this state of mind to get the better of you.
You still have to get a hold of yourself and do what you need to do at the time.
Repentance doesn’t mean selling yourself short.
Consider the times when we forgive. It doesn’t mean giving up on yourself. This can be confusing but it doesn’t have to be.
So many times when we repent and decide to forgive, we get so emotional and lose ourselves. Forgiving people doesn’t involve giving up on our dreams.
We may have to adjust but we shouldn’t give up completely on our dreams. We can always forgive without selling ourselves short. We can forgive and still have good plans for ourselves. We can forgive without having to put ourselves back in a position where people will continue to hurt and destroy us.
Forgiving involves letting go of all the anger, the hurt, the rights and the need to take revenge. It doesn’t involve giving up on ourselves.
The fact that you’ve forgiven someone doesn’t mean you can’t walk out of their lives when you need to. Even when you forgive, you can still get up and leave a toxic relationship – whether it’s between you and your friend or your boss.
Also, even when you forgive someone, you can still correct them. You can still point out their faults when they mess up.
Repentance and rededication can put us on the low but don’t get too emotional. Remember, the feelings of hurt and loneliness that accompany repentance don’t last.
Now I want you to join the discussion. Use the comments session below to share a moment where you had to repent or change. Share how you felt and how you dealt with those odd feelings.