An Authentic Response

I know I keep bringing this up, but let’s get back to me and the pile of poo mentioned in “I’m Sorry“. I stood there in my kitchen raising my hands in surrender to my wife’s complaints about me, but it wasn’t real. In reality, raising my hands was my way of looking as faultless as I possibly could, and making my wife’s desires seem as ridiculous as I could possibly make them. Obviously it wasn’t real repentance. Real repentance would have involved some active listening to my wife’s frustration, and then following through on the things my wife wanted me to do differently.

King David wrote a Psalm right after God had caught him in adultery, murder, and cover-up. His response to God was truly repentant. He observed, You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51: 16 – 17 David knew God wouldn’t be honored (in fact God would be the exact opposite of honored) if he put on some repentant act. He realized God’s honored when we give up trying to look as faultless as possible, give up trying to make God’s desires look ridiculous, and give up wounding the God who loves us so relentlessly.

When God acts in love, and places a mirror in front of our face so as to help us recognize our need for correction, He doesn’t want an act. God wants an authentic response to His concerns.

About Andy Lewis

Andy is an author, pastor, and musician who lives in Santa Cruz California. Currently he serves as lead pastor at Faith Community Church in Santa Cruz
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2 Responses to An Authentic Response

  1. Adam Nigh says:

    Good word, pastor. I definitely don’t want a relationship of play acting with God. But at the same time the knowledge that Jesus had to live and die for me, had to respond to God for me, makes me deeply aware that I am not in myself capable of a response authentic enough or sincere enough to make any meaningful differentiation between it and an inauthentic or insincere response. All of my responses to God’s grace and love are, in themselves, empty gestures of self-justification. Real repentance is accomplished for me in Christ; the value or authenticity of my repentance can only be seen in what Christ has done for me. The personal quality of authenticity and repentance that I or others might see in myself have to be understood as signs and fruit of my faith, and my faith is not in the authenticity of my response but in Christ alone.

    None of that is to say that inauthenticity or insincerity are acceptable in my responses to God or my wife. Its just to say that my response to God is not directly to God, it is a mediated response, ie a response already mediated for me in Christ. If I could make an authentic response to God myself, Christ would not have had to die. So the value of my response just can’t be measured by any quality internal to myself; it is measured by who I am responding to.

    • Andy Lewis says:

      Thanks Adam. Good word. Yeah, your comments make it so clear that any response toward God at all is an outpouring of His grace in our lives. Yet in some way (whatever it actually is in its intrinsic nature) God wants a response that is something other than how you described it – “play acting with God” Thanks for even reading the blog, and then posting some very thoughtful words!

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