A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Thursday Thought — Does repentance ever come too late?

A GEM from the gems page:

Though true repentance is never too late, yet late repentance is seldom true.
[Thomas Brooks]

15 Comments

  1. Brenda R

    That says a lot in a few words. Much to think about.

  2. Anne

    Repentance came too late for Saul. 1 Samuel 15:24-34.

    • Brenda R

      Anne,
      Valid point!! God does have his limits and sets boundaries.

  3. joepote01

    I think that depends a lot on the primary goal of repentance and what is meant by “too late.”

    If the primary goal is reconciliation of the relationship, yes, that can absolutely come too late, and often does. However, if reconciliation of the relationship is the primary goal, then it is probably not true repentance, either.

    As I’ve often advised my children when they were dealing with things they’d done wrong, “It’s never too late to start doing the right thing.”

    To me, this is the essence of true repentance…to start doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do…not to escape consequences…not to demand forgiveness or reconciliation…simply because it is the right thing to do…

    • Saved By Grace

      Another true gem and a good philosophy by which to live. Thank you Joepote01. 🙂

      “This is the essence of true repentance…to start doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do…not to escape consequences…not to demand forgiveness or reconciliation…simply because it is the right thing to do…”

    • This is very helpful; thank you. Just yesterday I was struggling to understand whether my h’s promise of change was true repentance or just remorse due to consequences. Why would it take more than two decades of pleading for respectful behavior with no results? But then once I finally make a decision to leave, it is only then that he ‘sees the light’ a d says he has changed. Very, very tough to discern truth. Thank you for this nugget of wisdom.

    • Joy V.

      Well said!

    • Absolutely! Joepote01 My parents taught me to “Do the right thing, no matter what it costs. Doing the right thing is its own reward. (You don’t need accolades from others, awards, trophies, etc.) You can get up in the morning, look in the mirror and like what you see.” That is a beautifully clear mind.

      I told my N husb. when we got separated many years ago, (knowing nothing about N’s or abusers) that it didn’t really matter whether or not we got back together, rather that he did the work to be a better person and heal from the inside from his horrible childhood that I was paying for! He just looked at me with, what I now know to be the blank N stare because he is and was clueless about anything thought provoking. While he pretended to me to be doing everything he could to prove he loved me and was willing to do anything to get me back; he was flirting with every woman in church, work, grocery stores, gas pumps, you name it, he flirted with it. He also had his younger brother looking for dates for him. Isn’t the primary goal for them to get what only they want? So sick and perverse, and when I called him on it, just complete denial!

      Anyway, I do forgive him, and whatever he does, he does, it is no longer my business. For me 30+ years in (yes, we did get back together after 5 years separated!) of the same abuse & garbage (nothing really changed), I’m out! Entitlement & repentance is an oxymoron.

      • Jen

        Oh my gosh, you just made something perfectly clear to me–“the blank N stare” is what I’ve dealt with for YEARS now. I cry, express pain from how he’s hurt me, and he just looks at me with no feeling or urge to comfort. I just thought it was lack of empathy, but I guess that also is a hallmark. I have to get out of this before I’m completely destroyed. His family’s the same way, and they all blame me. Even though I’m not the one who lied, cheated, and hid it for years….

      • Hi Jen, It is so eye opening when someone hits the nail on the proverbial head on something, isn’t it? It has happened to me so many times on this blog. Good to know you are not alone, but, I’m sure we all wish we weren’t here at the same time! You are not alone in that my husband’s family is all the same, too. They have talked wrongly about me since the beginning, never did my husband stand up to them or correct them, just goes along and probably fuels the fire when I’m not around. All the while smiling and acting friendly to my face! Disgusting! No integrity, no character and that equals no Christianity in my book! Although they profess it from their mouth, their heart is far from it. God bless you, Jen, everyone has to do what their heart tells them and when, and you know when you know!

    • Anne

      Thank you, Joe. Excellent!

  4. ali

    I pray often for my ex-husband to come to a place of true repentance before Jesus and to reconcile with Him as his Lord and Saviour. But for me, repentance does not equal reconciliation of our relationship. It took me a while to figure out that this was ok. After years and years of his failure to truly repent, false promises, false remorse and destructive/ abusive behaviour in our ‘marriage’ – it is ok to not want to reconcile relationally, and this is not from any lack of forgiveness. It is the natural consequence where trust has been consistently broken after many opportunities given to repent and change. In this way repentance is ‘too late’ for the marriage relationship.

  5. Anonymous

    Though true repentance is never too late, yet late repentance is seldom true.
    [Thomas Brooks]

    I take this statement to be a statement of observation. I wonder why it is that late repentance is usually exposed as being disingenuous? I guess if an offender had the inclination to repent, the person would have taken steps to do so. However, in some cases, offenders are not faced with the reality of their offence, and once they have that opportunity, they do repent, hence the transformations that we hear about from time to time. Most of domestic abuse perpetrators, though, have ample opportunity, from the pleadings of their spouses, to the reprimands of their pastors, the directives of the Bible, the heavy hand of the law, and the public campaigns of late, so they have no excuses. That they wait till the last hour before they claim to have seen the light and cry tears of remorse raises the question, “Why now?”

    • joepote01

      “That they wait till the last hour before they claim to have seen the light and cry tears of remorse raises the question, “Why now?””

      Exactly!

      And if their ‘repentance’ is accompanied by pleading for a reprieve…that is even more cause for caution…more evidence that the remorse has more to do with not wanting to suffer consequences than a true desire to change.

      If it requires suffering serious consequences to find repentance then the last thing we should do is interfere with those consequences by granting a reprieve. Why would we take from them the one thing they apparently need most to find repentance?

      Relationship with any given human is not essential to our eternal well-being. Repentance before God is.

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