There has been much discussion over the last several weeks about change. We’ve heard a lot about changes in everything from politics and government to leadership and lifestyle. People ask about and search for how to follow Jesus. However, there hasn’t been quite as much discussion about what personal change looks like. Kyle Idleman writes in great depth about personal change in his book, “AHA: Brutal Honesty in the New Living Translation.” Kyle describes change as an “AHA” moment and described it as,
In Luke 15, after the Prodigal Son came to his senses, verse 17 reads, “He said to himself.” There was no one else around. It was just him and the pigs. Sometimes the hardest conversation to have is the one you have with yourself. Brutal honesty begins when we look in the mirror and speak the truth about what we see. AHA requires you to tell the truth about yourself to yourself. The Prodigal Son said to himself,
He was honest with himself about what he deserved. That kind of honesty is difficult. The hardest person in the world to be honest with his the person in the mirror, and I don’t mean the lady who’s cutting your hair. I mean you. We’d prefer the awakening without the brutal honesty.
Avoiding brutal honesty will short circuit lasting change. When there is recognition without repentance, AHA doesn’t happen. When the Prodigal Son came to his senses, he dealt with himself truthfully. The awakening must lead to honesty. Conviction must lead to confession.
This is the biggest difference between regret and repentance. Many of us will have an awakening and regret that things have turned out the way they have, but we won’t repent of our part in it. We regret that someone has noticed and pointed out our wrongs, but we’d rather continue to deceive them and prove ourselves right than actually confess the truth.
Our heavenly Father sees and knows all, so it’s not a question of getting caught. The honesty I’m talking about is more than a simple acknowledgement; it is a kind of brokenness. Yes, you tell the person who caught you that you are sorry, but you must go beyond that. In an honest moment when no one else is around, you must tell yourself the truth about yourself and know that you are sorry.
That’s difference between regret and repentance.
If you desire to daily follow Jesus more closely and learn how to move from regret to repentance we encourage you to take a look at the resources in the AHA bible study by Kyle Idleman. In it you will learn how three key elements—awakening, honesty, action—can produce “aha!” in our spiritual lives. Learn more here.
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