I want to share with you a small auto-biographical story that I believe illustrates the type of repentant heart needed to continue in getting rid of guilt.
She had always been a good girl so finding herself in this place was unimaginable to her. How was she going to survive this? She came into the facility only an hour ago and was locked in a single room with six other women. As she looked around she became more and more frightened. This isn’t where she belonged. Her mother never taught her how to survive in jail. How could the judge have sentenced her to time in this place? Did he really feel that a non-violent, first time offense deserved this? Here she was though, for six long months. She started counting the days the minute that she walked in the doors.
She longed to be free again, wanting to hold her children in her arms. Everything she had ever done, she did for them. She never imagined in her wildest dreams that they would have to come visit her here. She made up her mind to stay to herself. She wouldn’t even go to most meals, only enough to survive on. She listened to the other women talk about their lives. It appeared to her that they didn’t mind being there so much. In fact, they came back time and again. The food was terrible, you didn’t have any privacy, you were at risk to get diseases and you couldn’t even wear your own clothes. Why do they keep coming back for more?
She vowed to herself that she would get out of there as soon as possible. Once she did, she would never go back. She would rather die than to be back in that place.
She was put in the work release program and found it much easier to deal with since she could get out into the real world for a few hours a day. When she came back to the "facility" she slept and did her job cleaning the bathrooms. This earned her early time out. She also took classes which earned early time out and she earned every single day she could on good behavior.
She was given another hearing in front of the judge. If it worked out, she would be free to go home that day. Four months into her sentence. She was about to go over the edge if she didn’t get out soon. All of her family showed up to that hearing. The judge listened carefully as she spoke of her experience in jail. She told him about how she had originally felt she didn’t belong there because those people had serious problems. She didn’t drink much and she didn’t do drugs. She certainly didn’t sell her body for money.
She told him how she came to the realization that although she didn’t do any of those things she had another kind of problem. That problem was that she couldn’t tell her kids no. She had gotten herself into financial troubles because of it and only saw one way out...to steal money. She revealed to him that she was so sorry for what she had done wrong. She had learned her lesson and repented for it long ago. He would never find her in his courtroom again if he would just let her go home to her family today.
The judge believed her. He let her go home that day with her family. She had never felt so free in all her life as when she packed up her things and walked out of that jail. She wanted to shout it out to the world. She never went back to that place. She lived the rest of her life free of crime and thankful for a second chance.
You see, true repentance means that you will go the opposite way of the problem or sin or temptation. If you have a problem with gambling, never driving by a casino again is part of repentance. If you have a difficult marriage situation, keeping yourself from tempting situations with others is part of repentance.
(Source: http://www.helium.com/items/663197-short-stories-repentance From a sermon by Troy Borst, Stop Feeling Guilty, 8/17/2011)
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