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How do we repent?

August 20, 2010

Got the following message:

Hey Mark(:

My name is Charlie and I’m 14 years old.

I saw your video about how you became a Christian. It touched me, deeply. My whole family are Christians, so I think I am too. I recently went on a missions trip, and invited Jesus into my heart…Again. You see, I’ve been inviting Jesus back into my heart a lot. For some reason I keep pushing him away. He’s put me through so many trials, making it seem impossible to go on. Every night I stay up late thinking about how ashamed I am of my sins. I’ve done some pretty bad things that I’m not proud of. I repent and pray all night. Sometimes into the morning. Yet I never feel like I’m quite getting it. Like I just don’t love Him enough. I don’t know what to do, and there’s not really anyone who can help me. My parents and I don’t get along, and I don’t have any Christian friends. I hope I’m not asking too much by ask for a little help from you…Do you have any tips or bible verses that you think could help me out? Thank you again for putting up your video.

Thank you for your time,

Charlie.

And here is my short response :

Bless ya,

Mark

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23 Comments
  1. Marietjie Kruger permalink

    Thank you so much for this reply to Charlie’s question (great question by the way). It meant a lot to hear your answer which brought back perspective for me as well. Have a great day! God bless you and the wonderful work that you are doing!

  2. Great answer!!!! Practical and simple.
    Charlee mentioned that his/her whole family were Christian so he/she figured they were as well. So many believe because they come from a Chrisitan home that they to are Christian but we know it is not like passing down DNA.. there is a calling from HIM and an acceptance from us by repentance as you mentioned Mark and by walking in his statutes. There is nothing We can do to EARN salvation nor is there anything our family can do FOR us…
    Great stuff 🙂

  3. Lisa R permalink

    God Bless You, Charlie. God’s word says in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness” (KJV). Sometimes (probably all the time) the devil tries to convince us that we are unworthy to be forgiven for the sinful things we do, because he doesn’t want us to get closer to God. Do not believe that lie, Charlie. Believe that you have been forgiven, turn from the sin and live. We have freedom in Christ because of his shed blood. Christ’s blood is powerful enough to cleanse us from EVERY sin.

    Lisa

  4. sharon permalink

    Charlie Honey,

    We all do things that we regret or are not proud of, this is just being human. Please do not be so very hard on yourself! God has already forgiven you babe but there is one person who must still forgive………YOU must forgive yourself. You must accept yourself. Don’t be afraid of Gods wrath………He gave us all choice so that we could find out for ourselves what type of people we want to become, and no matter who or what that is he still loves you……but you must learn to love you too! I will pray for you, so you may learn to love yourself and forgive yourself………as you are already loved and forgiven!

    You are so sweet, seek grace for being human!
    Love,
    Sharon

    • Letha Powell permalink

      Dear Charlie,
      I am a great-grandmother now, but a few years ago
      I was going through the same thing you are now.
      Over and over I would ask for forgiveness for the
      same sin and never really felt forgiven. I turned
      from my sin and repented, but still didn’t feel
      forgiven. Then I came across an article by Charles
      Swindoll that opened my eyes. It explained the
      process as confessing, repenting, and (this is so
      important)believing that God has forgiven you. God
      tells us that when He forgives, He removes our sin
      as far as the East is from the West! I had not been
      trusting God to keep His word. What a relief it was
      for me when I began asking forgiveness for my sins
      and then saying to God, “Father I KNOW that your
      word is true and that You have forgiven me, and I
      ask that You help me not to do it again.” Then I
      was able to rest peacefully.

  5. Steve Gill permalink

    Hey Charlie…. I have a 14 year old and I’m so glad that you posted this question to Mark. I did want to tell you that even though I have been saved for almost 7 years now…. I still sin. When I first came to God and asked for Him to save me from myself, I was so repentive of things that I had done. I was FACE TO FACE with the living God telling him about things that I had done that I was so ashamed of. Even though I felt His amazing grace come over my life…. and YES…. I knew that He had wiped my sins clean, there was something I didn’t know at the time that I do know now. A seed started to sprout in my heart for God at that time. It was the beginning, not the middle. It was not a “Fully Grown Tree” yet. So, what I’ve learned is that although it was a most precious time. It was also a difficult time because I didn’t know what it meant to try to walk in the shadow of His Glory. It is SO WORTH IT CHARLIE and we (As brothers and sisters) NEED YOU AS GOD DOES. God’s Truth is at stake. Fight the Good Fight of God’s Love now. You are needed and even though you are not worthy of His Love (None of us are), you will be FLOORED by how God uses you to shine is light in darkness. I love you Charlie and you have a brother in Virginia. In His Name I pray that His Seed Sprouts in you and you grow GOOD and SLOW. You will be a blessing to many.

  6. Susie Devine permalink

    Dear Charlie,

    Your post broke my heart. You describe so well your struggle. The pain of uncertainly you’re experiencing flew off the page and smacked me right between the eyes! I know this pain well.

    I loved the passage Pastor Mark was drawn to and shared with you. It speaks to me as well. I agree with him that turning away from our sin means turning away from focusing on it.

    But how the heck do we do this? As the verse suggests this is a two step process: 1) We must recognize our sin. You obviously have no problem with step 1! 🙂

    It’s step 2 where I think most of us struggle. Besides redirecting our focus, I think there is a decision–an urgent decision–we have to make here and that is this: We have to decide to accept God’s grace and forgiveness…this is actually how we turn to God.

    I used to think that the missing ingredient to peace was that I needed to forgive myself, but that meant–as Pastor Mark said–that my focus remained on me. I discovered that my mistake lay in my lack of understanding of God’s grace. So, I decided to try to understand God’s grace. But that took me to Proverbs where I was told not to ‘lean on my own understanding.’ I was so confused!

    Here’s what it came down to. I don’t understand God’s grace, because my mind and heart are too small to fully grasp it. This much I can be sure of: He knows this and loves me anyway. HE LOVES ME ANYWAY. I don’t need to fully understand God now–even Paul didn’t! But what I must do is TRUST HIM!

  7. Susie Devine permalink

    (continued sorry I hit the wrong key!)

    God forgives me. He forgives you. He forgives what we are certain is unforgiveable! How can He do that? I don’t know. I only know that He does. He says He will. He can’t lie. Finally, His forgiveness is ALL I need. It is sufficient to fill me with that ‘peace that surpasses all understanding.’ Believe in Him. Let everything else go.

    With the Love of Christ,
    your sister, Susie

  8. Kristen permalink

    Charlie,

    I am a 19 year old college student. I have been through the same thing you are going through. Mark is definitely right about changing your thinking. What I have found from my experiences with God and reading the Bible is that the way humans think is completely different from the way God thinks. Humans are always focused on flaws. I’m sure you have heard the truism “To err is human, to forgive divine.” This is why God sent his son Jesus to us. Yes, we all sin, as David says in Psalm 51, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” But God does not want us to be consumed by these sins. He loves us dearly, this is why He has created us, and He has a greater treasure in store for us. Charlie, do not ever think that God’s grace can be taken away from you. Do not ever think that Jesus can leave you. He is with you ALWAYS! Whenever I feel like the world does not make sense, or that my life is without purpose, I turn to God, and whenever I turn to God, I find the overwhelming peace that comes from knowing that God is in charge, and the realization that this life and this world is a blessing and a miracle. I do not know what the future holds, but God does, and He will lead us down the right path.

    Some of the things I read that helped me in this understanding are the book of Isaiah, the life of David, and the writings of Martin Luther and St. Augustine of Hippo. Notice how all of these great men of faith have struggled with the realization of the enormity of their sins, but all have found peace in the realization of God’s grace and love.

    God bless you, always!

    • Steve Gill permalink

      Kristen….
      Thanks for that message. It really helped me. God just used you to help me.

    • Tamara permalink

      thank you Kristen, this is really wonderful. I am struggling with problems like charlie, but I now that God is with me, that I am His child but sometimes I feel like I`m not worth to be His child in His kingdom. I cry `cause I make sin with my boyfriend… We are ashamed…

      • Bren permalink

        @Tamara – I had the same problem, except with my girlfriend. I just want to encourage you to refocus that energy to taking the road of holiness in regards to this issue: Marriage. That’s what helped me to stop making sin with my fiance, and it drives me forward. Remember, money does not matter as much as God’s commands, and God blesses those who keep His commandments. So if you wind up having to stroll down to city hall and can only afford to live someplace less than ideal, it is worth it, and I bet you will find great peace just doing the Lord’s will.

    • Brittany permalink

      @Kristen ~ I noticed you helped others as I am sure along with Charlie. But I too, was very touched at what you said. The Lord really used you here!! You are a blessing to me and many others, thank you greatly…

  9. Demy permalink

    Hey Charlie!
    I’m fourteen years old too, and I can totally relate to what your trying to say. It’s like you don’t know if your doing it right, I can ask for forgiveness again and again and again, but yet I still don’t know. Haha, kinda confusing. (:

  10. Lydia reyes permalink

    Thanks Charlie,for having the courage to ask Mark for help. In this site , I want you to know that there are many people lifting you up to the Lord in prayer. You see my dear, we have all been there. I feel a motherly Love for you and I want you to know that your repentance means the world to God. No matter how big or small your sins are.If you believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and the sins of all the world , you will be save. The changes in your life will come as you surrender your life to Jesus. It is hard for us to change our ways but nothing is impossible for God. I know, I’ve been there. I hope you find a place to worship , That proclaims the word of God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. I pray that God will bring you and your family in unity with his love. I hope to see your future post on this site and see how you are growing in the walk with God. We love you and God Loves you more.

  11. cam permalink

    Hi Charlie,

    In our journey as a Christian, there is one valuable lesson we have to learn – learn to forgive ourselves as God forgives us. No matter how big or small is the sin in the eyes of God it is a sin there isnt any size. We are the one who cant get over the sins, let go and let God heal you as you sincerely repent of your trepasses. Each time when you are being reminded of your past sins that is from the devil it is defintely not from Him. The best weapon that our Heavenly Father gives is His Word, meditate upon His Word. You can always look up on verses regarding forgiveness to strengthen your trust in Him. Always encourage yourself through His Words. You also can read the book of Psalms too. The more you read the bible, you will gain strength to fight the enemy that works against you and your walk with Him. =)

  12. Dearest Charlie,

    You are already on the right path by asking for help.Don’t be too hard on yourself,i know it was a great effort to ask for help.Jesus made that sacrifice on the cross for our sins,past, present and future,He piad for our sins with His own blood because He loves us so much.I would like to advise you to read and meditate on Romans 10:9-10.

    God bless you.

  13. Justin permalink

    Hi Charlie, Im a 20 year old child of Yahweh The first very small bit if I was you is to pay close attention at chapters in 1 Peter, there is a fine line of understanding which comes from these chapters in particular which should come to light very clearly, and right through the Bible there is a fine line set that only children of God born from above will understand.

    In Particular I quote 1 Pet. 2:9 and the very first bit and not be understood incorrectly ” (“But ye are a chosen generation”), a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:..so clearly from this very bit that God elects His children before they are even born Yahweh knows who his children are and not up to us to select Him as our god but Him to select us as His child. If Yahweh calls on you (“Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”) , open your heart let His Holy Spirit lead you to the destiny only but only know by Him, let Him be in full control over you, and let Yahweh’s will be done. Remember Yahweh gave His only beloved Son. He always forgives our fleshly sins as Yahshua was the one hanged to the cross as final Lam, and those that are sinless isnt with God.

    My prays to you and may you find Yahweh speedly keep on praying , persist in praying and never BUT never push away Yahweh as there is only one chance.

    Blessing and regards from me who was more or less on the same path.

    Justin

  14. lucy ng permalink

    Repentance is different to each one of us.One can say a change for the better…or being sorry for all sins(try not to commit same one anymore)or maybe repent from doing things that displeases GOD…following the WAY of truth…thru meditating his WORD (bible)…..etc……..Actually for me repentance is realising I am no one…..I srtive to live life…..in this aspect….CHRIST increase & I decrease!!!

  15. Ana permalink

    Thank you Charlie for your question to Mark. I think this is something many of us struggle with and thank you all for your advise cuz it has truly been a blessing to me and I’m sure to others. God bless you all and thank you Jesus for your love, mercy, forgiveness and for never giving up on us.

  16. Justin permalink

    HI charlie

    here is another verse…

    1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

  17. Steve Gill permalink

    Hey Charlie…
    Look at all these responses to your letter to Mark. Is God Awesome or what? He send you so many to encourage you in your walk. I coach football and YES…. 14 and 15 year olds just like you!. All of the kids are learning how to play a GAME in life… but YOU Charlie are learning how to LIVE. God loves you for opening up with your letter…. and in response, He has sent His servants to Love you and teach you. You have a Great Eternal Life ahead of you. By the way, back to the football team I coach. They can’t see God yet Charlie. They laugh. They have friends. But they are lost because most of them won’t even recognize there Creator. They need YOU to show them Charlie. There are friends right now that you have that without Jesus, they will perish. I love you brother Charlie. Please pray that us coaches do a worthy job for our Lord and share the Gospel in a way that brings our kids to the truth that you obviously know. I will pray for you every day Charlie.

  18. katherine permalink

    That was an awesome answer for Charlie. Mark, you help a lot of people. May the Lord continue to flood your life with His Spirit. Keep it up my friend.

    Charlie, I too have had lots and lots of trials. Some, very severe trials. I too have wondered about my salvation at times until I realized I can never measure up, I can never work hard enough to pay for my sins. Four years ago my husband and I lost our beautiful baby boy. I know our baby is in heaven but that didn’t help our pain. Deep pain causes deep scars but it also causes a deeper, more intimate walk with our Lord. It has also caused me to love deeper than ever. My trials have been long and very difficult at times. Please, brother, know that God loves you so much and He wants your mind set free. Please read His word and encourage yourself in the one that already paid the price for your sins. Read His word out loud and declare it over your mind and body. God loves you, brother. I’ll pray for you.

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