August Prayer Domain Newsletter:
The Large Pink Elephant in the Room
|August 3, 2021|
This is the newsletter I have not been looking forward to writing. Repentance! 10 Days of Prayer is one month away. Over the last several weeks I’ve shared biblical background, perhaps some interesting tidbits, and the importance of prayer. But it all leads to a time of repentance. Oy veh! This word guarantees to clear a room. It’s like the large, pink elephant – everyone know it’s there; no one wants to talk about it. We all agree that repentance is needed……….and then point to the person across the room. And for me……..well, I’ll probably be stepping on some of my own toes. Yet, this needs to be discussed, so here we go.
Repent/repentance: feeling sorrow or regret for a past action; to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life. I wonder how many view repentance as the first description and not the second. We are made aware of an area in our life and instead of dedicating ourselves to change, we simply say: oops, my bad, I’m sorry, my personal favorite – it’s how God made me, etc. Have you experienced what I have when realizing I keep doing the same thing over and over again with little to no change and I have to keep apologizing? I was sorry, at times genuinely so, but apparently unwilling to change.
As a teenager and young adult, I was always “proud” of my dry sense of humor (sometimes known as sarcasm. I personally think this is a spiritual gift but regrettably I am unable to find it in scripture.) One day, while at work, my dry wit was working its magic, until I looked at the face of the young lady across from me and I saw tears in her eyes. But, she was smiling!! No, she was smiling to be polite (I left out that I was her boss), but I could tell that I had hurt her deeply. I was mortified. That was not my intent. I’d like to tell you that I repented and was immediately cured of sarcasm. Not the case. Instead, I found myself praying every day, “Please Lord, help me to stop. I don’t want to be funny if it hurts someone. Help me to recognize when I’m tempted to say something that I ought not to say.”
In Matthew 3:1 we read about John the Baptist saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” If we read the first 12 verses of this chapter, we see that John is telling people to turn from their sins and turn to God. He looks at the Pharisees and Sadducees and he says, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Now, I realize that most of us have a very poor opinion of the Pharisees. Yes, they totally could not see that Jesus/Yeshua, God’s Son, was in their midst. And yet, these were men who truly thought they were being obedient to God’s word, to the Torah. We intuitively know that repentance for the wrong things we do is most important. It is the repentance of what is within us is most critical. Everyone will agree that the following is wrong: stealing, fighting, adultery, pornography, lying, speeding, or even bad character flaws in ourselves and others. However, how willing are we to examine our own selves?
The attached document shares 7 areas that probably need to be assessed from time to time. This is by no means all areas that effect our lives. It touches on the tongue (how we speak), the mind (how we think), the heart, judging, being renewed, loving, and prayer. The bible verses are not intended to “drag us down”, to heap shame and condemnation upon ourselves. They were chosen to help us reflect and perhaps challenge us. The verses are by no means exhaustive – only 5 per section. I hope these will lead you to other verses that will bless, convict and restore.
Next week, Yom Kippur. I’ll also be sharing a calendar of what will be taking place during 10 Days of Prayer.
Blessings & Shalom