Repent With Us

Nehemiah 1

Nehemiah was a captive in a foreign land. His country had fallen and he had just received word that the walls of Jerusalem had been broken down, it’s gates were burned, and the people that were left there were in great distress. Nehemiah responds to the news by weeping, mourning, fasting and praying for many days. He begs for God’s mercy and confesses the sin of his people, his family and himself.

We know of Nehemiah as one of  the prophets, a man historically engraved as righteous, speaking the words of God to His people. And that is accurate. Nehemiah was a prophet. He was a man who sought to  follow God. Yet, here he is, including himself in the number of those who sinned. A godly person is not one who never sins (not while we are on this earth anyway), but one who is able to humble himself before God. A person in leadership among God’s children should not have a reputation of having no faults. If he does, a falsehood is being presented because no man is without sin. The true mark of godly leadership is one of repentance.

Personally, I have the greatest respect for the men I know who can receive biblical correction, who will admit fault, gain forgiveness, and preach a stronger gospel message born of a deep personal knowledge of undeserved redemption. Humility is a great strength. From what I know of my pastor, he is this kind of man.

But, sadly, this aspect of godliness is missing among much of the established church organizations today. Rather, they mimic the attitude  of the leadership in Judah before the walls of Jerusalem fell. And, because we all sin, – regardless of title, position, or ministry – without repentance, there can be no godliness among us. Look how far we have fallen because we think we cannot fall. More than 3000 children a day are sacrificed to the god of self, at least a third of which claim to be evangelical Christians and some proclaiming that their churches and pastors approve of their “right to choose” and that God forgives them even as they knowingly continue to sin.

Nehemiah prayed to (1:6b-7a) “confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You…”. He never said that his captivity was the fault of some other group of people, some other person, some other… He said MY nation, MY family, ME. He never excluded himself from those needing to repent.

Neither should we.