“Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.”
Even God comes to the point when apologizing is no longer good enough. Time and time again, Israel repented of their wickedness only to return to do the same thing again; however, they did it one too many times. God said to Israel in the verse above, “I am weary with repenting.” God came to the end of His mercy and said that it didn’t matter if Moses and Samuel stood before Him together to plead for Israel, He was going to destroy them. God had enough of Israel’s false repentance; He wanted actions instead of words.
There always comes a time when “sorry” is not enough. Many people think that apologizing after they do wrong justifies their action to sin. My friend, there always comes a point when apologizing needs to be turned into actions. Several lessons can be learned from God’s weariness with Israel’s repentance.
First, actions speak louder than words. Just because you tell someone you are sorry doesn’t mean that you are sorry. Your actions always reveal the authenticity of your apology. You can apologize a hundred times, but when you continue to do something again, it reveals that the emptiness of your apology. I often tell people that I appreciate their apology, but I would rather they just do right than use an apology as a way to appease their conscience. Your actions after the apology always reveal if you are truly sorry for what you have done. Don’t say you’re sorry if you are going to do the same action again.
Second, mercy is not permission to do wrong. You have heard the old saying, “It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.” This statement is nothing more than a hardened heart that thinks mercy is a license to do wrong. Just because you can say you are sorry doesn’t mean it is all right to do wrong. Wrong is wrong, and sin is sin no matter how you put it. Just because you apologize doesn’t mean that you won’t have to suffer the consequences. Just because someone may be merciful towards you doesn’t give you the right to go ahead and do wrong.
Third, mercy is not guaranteed. Israel never thought that God would no longer accept their repentance. They thought that as long as they repented that they could continue to go back to their sin. Christian, there comes a point, even with God, that mercy is not guaranteed. The LORD said in Genesis 6:3, “…My spirit shall not always strive with man…” There comes a point when mercy stops. Just because you received mercy the last time you did wrong doesn’t mean you will find mercy the next time you do wrong. My friend, if God can come to the end of His mercy, mankind will certainly reach a point when mercy will no longer be available. You can’t continue doing wrong and think that mercy is guaranteed. Everyone comes to the point when they are done with apologies.
Fourth, repentance is changing, not repeating. If you are truly sorry, you will change what you do so that you don’t do it again. Certainly, you should apologize when you do wrong, but the best apology is not doing the same thing again. Godly sorrow always results in repentance. If you are truly sorry, you will stop repeating the same actions. The best way to prove your sorrow is to stop doing what you are doing and start doing right; that is true repentance.