When honesty eclipses repentance

Every day a blog or article pops up in my newsfeed touting the 10 Things Parent’s Won’t Tell You or 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Having Children or something else along those lines.  Someone confesses how challenging their life is, particularly compared to what it used to be, could be, or “should” be.  Comments follow, praising the writer’s honesty and how the reader can relate to the struggle.  This is particularly true in the Mommy Blog arena.  There is no lack of material discussing how lonely, frustrating and tiring it is mothering small children.  When I tread into the mommy blog arena, I am confounded by the mixed messages.  Am I meant to be encouraged by the writer’s honesty, knowing that I am not alone in my struggle against the flesh?

Yes, negative feelings and thought patterns during motherhood are normal.  I struggle daily for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Those character traits aren’t normal.  Focusing on my fatigue, my lack of me-time, on how thankless my children are – don’t they know what I am sacrificing for them? – is normal.  Focusing on how I can’t control my kids – and that makes me look bad – is normal.  Yes, these feelings grounded in sin are normal.  We need to be rescued from this.

We rightly applaud people for sharing their normal, but neglect the critical next step – repentance.  I am beginning a study of the books of Samuel, which include the account of the life of David.  David struggled with every sin imaginable.  He could have written a blog entitled Why I Had Bathsheba’s Husband Killed, baring his soul and how he simply couldn’t resist Bathsheba’s beauty.  We would all comment how we appreciate his honesty.  But what made David a great man?  He struggled with sin – did not accept it as something he just had to deal with because of his position or season of life – and repented.

Where does honesty take us if not to repentance?

Our culture glorifies honesty and never talks about repentance.  Repentance is only for those who have sin in their lives.  One of my favorite bloggers recently brought honesty and repentance into a right context.  She made herself vulnerable and shared about a crisis in her marriage, one that ultimately led to her family leaving Egypt and returning to the United States.  She struggled through grief as she mourned the death of her overseas life.  She could have stopped there.  Us readers could relate to the struggle of being pulled away from something we love.  But she didn’t stop there.  Words paraphrased from Jonah came to her –  “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 3:8).   She was clinging to an idol – ministry overseas – and was “willing to forfeit the grace that our marriage so desperately needed” for that overseas life.*  I was encouraged by Marilyn’s honesty, but more encouraged by the fact that she identified the sin in her life – idolatry – and sought counsel to address it.

Our culture has come a long way in being able to share our struggles openly.  But what’s the point of sharing/blogging/Facebook-status-updating/ etc those hardships if it doesn’t lead us to discuss the Truth that sets us free?


*You can read Marilyn Gardner’s complete post at A Life Overseas.

3 responses to “When honesty eclipses repentance”

  1. Yes! Life happens right?! If the way to hell is paved with good intentions I was there a couple of years ago 😦 Thank God for grace.

  2. Thank you so much – wow. i just read this today and you have no idea, really, what these words mean to me. They were a gift of grace after a vulnerable post. Thank you.

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