I've been reading Dallas Willard's Renovation of the Heart (or here). It has been speaking powerfully to me about who I am. As I continue to share and confess to others, I desire to do it right. Here is an excerpt (pp. 59-60):
The Necessity of RemorseAs my confession grows, I expect ruin. It is only by the grace of God that I am saved. Not by my hand, nor by any others. It may cost me my life, but I am guilty and should expect no less.
To prosecutors and judges in our court system, as well as to people in ordinary situations of life, it still matters greatly whether wrongdoers show signs of remorse or seem to be truly sorry for what they have done. Why is that? It is because Genuine remorse tells us something very deep about the individual. The person who can harm others and feel no remorse is, indeed, a different kind of person from the one who is sorry. There is little hope for genuine change in one who is without remorse, without the anguish of regret.
Much of what is called Christian profession today involves no remorse or sorrow at all over who one is or even for what one has done. There is little awareness of being lost or of a radical evil in our hearts, bodies, and souls -- which we must get away from and from which only God can deliever us. To manifest such awareness today would be regarded -- and certainly by most Christians as well -- as psychologically sick. It is common today to hear Christians talk of there "brokenness." But when you listen closely, you may discover that they are talking about their wounds, the things they have suffered, not about the evil that is in them.
Few today have discovered that they have been disastrously wrong and that they cannot change or escape the consequences of it on their own. There is little sense of "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5, KJV).
Yet, without this realization of our utter ruin and without the genuine revisioning and redirecting of our lives, which that bitter realization naturally gives rise to, no clear path to inner transformation can be found. It is psychologically and spiritually impossible. We will steadfastly remain on the throne of our universe, so far as we are concerned, perhaps trying to "use a little God" here and there . . . .
My journey through the wilderness continues.