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Session 6

Are You Really Sorry?

Read: Jonah 3

A young child looks out for himself. If someone has the toy he wants, he protests by taking it or hurting someone. Parents usually respond with, “Say you’re sorry.” This must happen before play can resume, but how many times does the child really feel sorry? Many times it’s a quick, whispered or even sarcastic, “Sorry,” followed by the same action a few minutes later.

The people of Nineveh had sinned. Jonah warned them of God’s plan to destroy their city.They didn’t just say they were sorry to appease God or Jonah, they humbly repented. First, “the people of Nineveh believed God” (Jonah 3:5). They believed in His power and His word. Second, the people humbled themselves. The king “arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes” (Jonah 3:6). The people followed. They took lowly positions to show their sorrow as they cried out for forgiveness. Third, they changed.

Humble repentance means recognizing our actions don’t line up with God’s purpose. It means putting aside pride and stubbornness to admit we have been wrong and asking for God’s forgiveness. It means changing.

What is God’s response to repentance? He forgave the people of Nineveh. He stands ready to forgive us too. He has already paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. Psalm 86:5reminds us of God’s response to repentance. “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”

Reflect:

  • What sin do you need to repent of?
  • What changes will you see in your life when you humbly repent?

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