We often hear that in choosing a partner age does not matter, the important thing is “maturity”. So, how do we develop this maturity? The best way is through repentance.
When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, He shared with them a complete prayer, quoted in Matthew 6:9-13. It included some words to elevate God, give Him reign, and submit to His will; and to ask Him for our provisions and for our protection. Our communion with God should also include repentance. “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12 WEB). For Christ, repentance is as important as praying for our needs or for our protection.
In fact, repentance is the basis of salvation. This was the main message of Christ. “And saying, “The time is fulfilled, and God’s Kingdom is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News” (Mark 1:15 WEB). Repentance is not regretting that you disobeyed God or hurt someone. For repentance to be complete, the conversion ingredient is always needed. “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 NKJV). Not only must we regret our sins, but we must also commit ourselves to not repeating them, to change our lives or our direction. Repentance is recognizing that we have done wrong and now we are taking the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.
In the case of salvation, this conversion brought us from darkness to light. We even passed through the baptism of water to prove to our entourage that we made the decision to live differently, to live for Christ. Salvation is the most important moment in a Christian’s life, but the act of repentance does not stop there. The prayer given by Jesus is one that must be lived daily. We must ask forgiveness for our sins every day, just as we ask for our “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
When we take the time to examine ourselves daily, to correct our actions or our thoughts, we develop our submission to God. We remind our souls that we are not perfect (1 John 2:1), but that God is (Deuteronomy 32:4) and this helps us to put God in His place of authority over our lives. Repentance develops humility, it breaks our pride.
Daily repentance also helps us to stay on our guard. After asking God’s forgiveness five times for the same thing, we become more alert when facing temptation. Especially when our repentance was accompanied by resolution. We will surely need the help of the Holy Spirit, but after repenting often about the same thing, we will feel bad about falling into the same trap again. “Oh no, I’m not going to do it, because I do not want to have to repent once again for that!” And that’s a great way to make good habits and grow.
We can become more mature and wiser by studying the Word of God. This is exactly what Proverbs recommends! “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6 NKJV). But sometimes, stubborn as we are, our mistakes may be better teachers than anything we could learn from books. If we do not repent regularly, we will quickly forget our mistakes, and multiply them. To be wise is to learn from the experiences of others, to study the Bible, and also to learn the lessons from our mistakes. This is why daily repentance brings us to maturity.
Have you repented today? It affects our body (if we yielded to the flesh), our soul (if our thoughts or emotions did not follow the filter of Philippians 4:8) and our spirit (if we did not listen to the Holy Spirit). Moreover, learning to repent from our sins daily will also be very useful in your life as a couple. If you already practice repentance, you will develop humility. And in doing so, asking for forgiveness will also be easier to do with your loved ones, and most importantly, with your life partner. So, practice right now with the One who is slow to anger and rich in goodness (Joel 2:13).