I don’t know how many times and by who many people I have heard this saying that has become very popular in our day. However, It’s an idea that conflicts with the biblical message.
Repentance is one of the keywords when it comes to our salvation. It is so important, that if we don’t repent our wrongdoings, there is no atonement.
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk 24:47).
thereforefruits meet for repentance..” (Mat.3,8)
Throughout life, we have all made mistakes. We have been selfish when we should have been charitable. We have stepped on others to elevate ourselves. We have harmed and caused pain, and others have harmed and caused us pain.
The idea that you had to do your mistakes and choices to become who you are today as if you are a unique and improved person because of it, is deeply troubling to whomever you have hurt.
Imagine if we were to re-word it so the meaning comes more clearly. Imagine you really harmed another human being with your conduct and choices and you coming back to that person 10 years later saying: «I don’t regret harming you because it made me a better person or it made me who I am today». What an insult to injury. We also do this towards God when we refuse to regret and repent our sins.
«And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.» (Rom 3:8)
Yes, Paul said anyone who thinks that way, damnation is just.
Sometimes good things can indeed come out of bad things. We may learn important lessons that change us, that make us take different directions in life. Sometimes adversity makes us stronger, sometimes it causes us to reflect more. And yes everything we have been through does, in part, make us who we are today. Not the actual situations though, but how we solved and handled them. And how we solve and handle things form our character and would take place regardless of the specific circumstance. Two men can go through the same journey and see and experience the same things, but their character would form in different directions. Yes, what they experienced will affect them, but it will not determine who you become. That is tied to what is already inside us, our moral guidelines, our worldview. Two people can experience a traumatic event and one will break and the other grows stronger. Therefore, we need not go through the things we do to become who we are. Rather it’s the opposite, it’s who we are that leads us through the things we go through and determines the outcome, whether good or bad. This is why the Bible uses so much time on directing people to engage in character building.
Originally it was never God’s desire that any human was to learn good from bad things, if it was then we have found an excuse for sin, a good reason for evil, and even the need for it for good to exist. God in the Bible gives man no excuse for sin. Jesus said: “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (Joh.8,46)
And no sin can be atoned by something good coming out from our sin. This
would make God in harmony with the yin-yang sign, that a little evil is always present in the good and that good is always present in the evil. But God claims He is righteous.
This dilemma is found in the tree in the Garden of Eden. Many seem to forget that the tree they were NOT to eat from had good knowledge in it: «the tree of the knowledge of good and evil» (Gen.2,17) The
tree did not just represent knowledge of evil but also of good.
Why would there be good knowledge God wanted to keep from them? What kind of good knowledge was forbidden for our first human couple?
The one that co-exists with evil. Was it because God wanted to keep the good from them as the serpent claimed? God acknowledged that there would be good knowledge to come from a sin-affected planet. We would understand better why bad is bad. We would understand mercy to a greater degree. We would be tested more, and for some this testing would resolve in an improved character. But this good knowledge had a high price. It would cost great suffering, pain, injustice, and the most horrible conditions you can think of. And God wanted to spare man from all of this. He wanted their paradise to be without this knowledge, as it was not needed for them to be happy and in order for them to treat each other well.
That’s right, Adam and Eve did not need the knowledge of sin in order to be good. They could be good people without it. And so can we. We don’t have to harm others, or hurt others, in order to become a better person. We don’t have to make many mistakes or bad decisions to learn what good we should have done instead. We can learn what good is by just spending time with God. We don’t have to «hit» someone and watch them cry or feel the pain of that «hit» in our own face in order to learn that hitting someone is wrong. That information can be obtained by good knowledge alone.
Ultimately the greatest knowledge of just how good God really is was also hidden by forbidding man to eat of that tree. That shows God’s great
sacrificing love for man and His great desire to preserve them from evil. He knew that if sin entered the world, His love would be even greater manifested for all to see. Without sin the world would not know that God would send His Only likeness, His son, to risk everything and be incarnated as a man and die for the sake of the human race. That God Himself would sacrifice to save man. The length God would go for His creation, us. The risks He was willing to take. His great love. All this was knowledge Adam and Eve and their descendants would never have known about had they not sinned. God had no need for evil to come in the world just to justify Him or show Himself greater. He just wanted that which was good for man. He told them not to «eat» from this tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
And not rather, (as we
areslanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. ( Rom 3:7-8)
When we reflect back on our lives,
And when you come to God in prayer, repent, tell Him you wish all those things are undone, that there was no excuse, no «good reason» that can in any way justify your actions.
Except that you did wrong or made the wrong decision, let the grief of it work on your heart. This is one of the most important parts of repentance. If you excuse your past sins you have the perfect excuse for the next one and you will repeat it. Those who will not learn from their own history will repeat their faults in new creative ways. But if you truly repent the road to recovery and change is open before you. Most of all, if we don’t truly repent, we continue to harm those we have hurt. We will continue to afflict them with pain.
“And he [Jesus] called unto him the
twelve,and began to send them forth by two and two …And they went out, and preached that men should repent”. (Mark 6, 7-12)
“And Jesus answering said unto them …but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13,2-3).
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat 3:1-2)
Have you ever considered what it means when someone tells you they are sorry they hurt you only to come up with an excuse why they did it? What does that say about someones worth? If someone has an excuse to harm you, what does that say about your worth?
And this is the emotional distress many people carry today, the feeling of being worthless. If someone has an excuse to harm you, it means they have a «good reason» for their bad action. A «good reason» behind harming you or your loved ones. That is putting someone’s value down. Many come up with good reasons for their personal sin. Adam blamed God and Eve for his sin, Eve blamed the serpent but God said: “What is this that thou hast done?” He gave the blame to the person who committed the fault regardless of who they claimed influenced them prior to their sin.
If you can apologize without excuse or «good reasons» you tell that person: «What I did was wrong, it was my fault alone. You deserve better because you are worth better. There is no excuse or good reason for my action because there exists no good reason to harm you» This is the type of apology that can heal the broken-hearted. This is how you free others from their bitterness. Yes, instead of accusing others of being bitter, help them put it away by taking full responsibility for your actions.
No, we cannot say we had the right to harm others because others harmed us. Is the person you harm to be punished for someone else’s action? This is not an excuse for sin. You will just add injury to anyone you harm with such ideas.
How many times haven’t the burden of blame been placed on a victim, popularly called victim-blaming? How often is the burden of forgiving prematurely placed on them? Some even are pressured by their transgressors or the friends and family of their transgressors, they are quoting from the Lord’s prayer, that if they don’t forgive forgiveness will not be granted them. The bad guy is suddenly the victim and the victim is made to be the perpetrator. It is true, God asks us to forgive our transgressors. But He does not tell us to take side with an abuser against a victim. Even God cannot grant us forgiveness or pardon unless we go to Him with our sin and repent. Yet today the Lord’s prayer is used as a weapon against victims that haven’t even received justice or help. This is not Biblical justice. The law of God states over and over again that the perpetrator has to, with his apology, in some way offer compensation for the wrong he caused (Ex 22:6-14, Ex 21:28-36, Ex 22:4-5, Exodus 21:22‑23, and so on).
Even Jesus said it, in harmony with the law of God, that if you come to ask God for forgiveness, first try and make right with the person you have harmed.
” Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” ( Mat 5:23-24).
The victim doesn’t understand why they cannot forgive, why they still feel bitterness and blame themselves for feeling that way, fearing they will lose God if they cannot remove their emotions. Some Christians are driven to madness by these thoughts. They think they forgive, but the pain and memory are still there. Is it a sign they will not be approved by God?
For those Christians insulted that their apology wasn’t easily accepted by other Christians, consider how you asked for forgiveness. How would God see it if you came to Him the same way? «Yes I stole my neighbor’s car and that is wrong according to You, but I needed a car and you didn’t give me one, now please forgive me». It sure doesn’t look like repentance or that you have turned from your ways does it?
The road to healing and recovery is placing the blame where the blame should be placed. Everyone must take responsibility for their own sins regardless of sins committed towards them. We cannot demand others to forgive us but we can ask for it.
And in order to set our victims free, we need to take full blame for our actions, without excuses, without «good reasons», without some great explanation as to why we felt forced to act the way we did. Many who apologize even blame the one they are apologizing to while apologizing and still they seem clueless as to why they are met with hostility. What we did was wrong, that is it. Wrong is wrong. We broke the law.
The expression so popular among the new generations, to not regret anything because it made us who we are, needs to not be a saying among Christians. It’s not a Christian or a biblical concept. Rather regret your wrongdoing and face that you wasted those years or months making all the wrong decisions, face the loss, and don’t give anyone an excuse for sin. Face that you may have even wronged yourself, treated yourself less of your worth.
We need to forgive to heal ourselves. But anyone that claims a right to hurt us or if we claim a right to hurt others, we make forgiving hard for others and for ourselves.
Don’t place the fault with the person who will not forgive you, re-examine instead your actions and your wording. It could be that your «apology» harmed them more than your initial action did, by saying all the wrong things. Sometimes the person doesn’t even understand why they didn’t feel compelled to forgive, they just feel a sense of worthlessness and blame after your apology.
And when we go to God in prayer, let it be in repentance. Let’s see God’s worth, our Father’s worth, and proclaim to Him that He was worth more than what our actions implied. That we have no excuse and that we truly really are, sorry.
Then do as Jesus said: «go and sin no more» (Joh_8:11). He is saying it for our own good.
«Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee» (Joh.5,14)
Jesus knows we don’t need mistakes and sins to learn what is good. That whatever good knowledge we get from the bad experience is not needed for us to be who we need to be.
Was Jesus a better person because He had sinned first? Was He good because He had done bad things first? Did He have to be a disobedient son to learn the importance of obedience? Did he have to commit adultery to understand a woman’s worth? No, Jesus never sinned. He never committed one single sin or did any mistakes as He was wandering with the Spirit while He was here as a man. And yet, even though He never did evil, He was the best person that ever lived on this planet. The most righteous, the most charitable, the most kind-hearted, the most insightful, the most precious and sympathetic of us all, even the most influential who would leave the biggest impact in the ages to come all over the world, yet He didn’t get there by harming others and «making His mistakes». He got there by walking with God daily.
All the things you thought you learned from doing wrong, you could have learned just walking with God. And then your knowledge would have been better and without corruption, without regrets. And fewer people would have been hurt. You would have been a better person than who you are today. And you will be a better person in the future by choosing a good path.
God doesn’t need evil to do good. Neither do we. The pain and suffering in the world are caused by selfishness and the need for self-elevation. The need for self-gratification is the foundation for most sins. God wanted to spare the human race for all the suffering. Just like you would your child. He told Adam and Eve to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The good knowledge that comes with evil, was knowledge we didn’t really need to be whole. And the hurt and the pain to come with it, God wanted to spare us from.
«Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.» (Psa 32:1-2)
Let’s ask God and whomever we have hurt for forgiveness, and continue our walk with Him in peace. “Repent ye!”
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ( 1Jn 1:8-9).