I heard on the radio last night there is actually a word, ohnosecond. It’s that moment when you realise you’ve just done something you really shouldn’t have done. I know I feel terrible if I’ve acted out-of-character and think I’ve misrepresented God, but that feeling can’t last long. If it did, I wouldn’t do anything positive ever again. Paul agrees that worldly sorrow brings death, whereas Godly sorrow produces repentance. Repentance means turning from what you’ve done wrong and living the right way.
When that ohnosecond comes, there are three things we can do:
1. Say sorry, but not really mean it. John the Baptist saw this when he was preparing the way for Jesus. He cut to the chase and said: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” In other words, if you’ve truly repented, your actions need to match your words.
2. Drown in our own guilt. Judas Iscariot chose this option. When he betrayed Jesus, Jesus called him ‘Friend’ (Matthew 26:50), which says to me that Jesus’ friendship was still on offer. Judas didn’t take it, but hanged himself instead.
3. Turn to God and confess our wrongdoing. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).