Whatever became of repentance?

Most people alive today will not recall a well known book of popular psychology entitled, Whatever Became of Sin? The author, Karl Menninger, pointed out (in the 1970’s) that the idea of sin was being displaced in our culture by blaming addiction, crime, collective irresponsibility, family history, and what today we call “victimhood.”

What began as unwillingness to name sin has morphed into cultural inability to admit guilt. Public statements read, “mistakes were made,” or “there were errors in judgment.” Rather than admit to wrongdoing, perpetrators caught red handed double down and lawyer up.

COVID-19 seems not only to have ravaged immune systems, it also may be eroding public confidence in leadership. How refreshing it would be to hear a spokesperson say, “Our earlier models have proven inaccurate. We are rethinking our conclusions.” To change course with changing data is what science does, and is just being honest. To refuse to admit an obvious error stokes questions of competence or motive.

How shall frustrated believers respond? First, let’s be truth seekers, not cynics. Just because absolutes have been abandoned doesn’t mean they went away. We can no more escape the law of sowing and reaping than repeal gravity. Everyone will be accountable. 1 Corinthians 4:5

Second, let’s be truth tellers, not blamers. Jesus calls sinners, not the self-righteous (Luke 5:29-32), for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Let’s find grace ourselves and then pray for all to find it. 1 John 1:8-10

“Father, we confess our sins gladly to you, for we know you forgive them in Jesus. We pray for our leaders to seek truth and to walk in humility. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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