Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!" Then Esau wept aloud. Genesis 27:38 (NIV)
It was too late. The opportunity had passed and he missed it. He hadn’t thought he cared about his heritage back when he so casually threw it away. But now…Realization hit with a power punch, but it came too late. It was gone and he had no one to blame but himself.
Regret is painful. Remorse is worse. But often we mistake those emotions for repentance—and they are not the same. Remorse and regret make us feel bad, hate ourselves, hate others, and remind us continually that we are failures. They become fertilizer for self-loathing, which we often mistake for humility. But repentance is different. Repentance is the doorway to restoration. Repentance means we agree with God about our sin and we do a 180. We own what we’ve done and change our mind about doing it again. We accept the forgiveness of God, but we don’t take it for granted. Esau regretted what he’d done. He felt remorse over the consequences. But he never repented, so he could never be restored. Have you made the same mistake?
If you find yourself continually returning to the same sins, same patterns, same attitudes that have always defeated you, could it be that you have never repented? You feel bad about it, hate the pain it causes, hate yourself for doing it, but…you want to reserve the right to do it again if you want to. Isn’t it time you agreed with God about how awful that sin is and let go of it? Only through repentance can our innocence and our fellowship with God be restored.