In a meeting with my pastor last week he asked me for an example of a specific pattern of sin we were talking about. I offered one that I felt was pretty minor, but fit well with what he was talking about: I had gotten a phone call from a friend that was encouraging, but also stirred up some prideful thoughts that I felt like I had handled pretty well. I thought that until I talked about it with Tom.
He encouraged me to repent really hard. Like, be brutally honest about the sin I’m repenting, not gloss over it like I’m usually pretty good, but happened to drop the ball this time. So in this instance, it goes from “that phone call brought up some prideful feelings, but I was able to nip it in the bud” to something like this: “Jesus, right now I care more about this guy’s approval than I do about yours. You’ve said that I’m forgiven, cleansed, filled with the Spirit, but I’m more interested in this guy thinking I’m smart, and in other people knowing he thinks I’m smart. I’m loving my reputation more than you. Please forgive me.”
I think Tom’s right: I think we should all repent really hard. Not just so that we feel bad about our sin (although we should), but so that the gospel is bigger in our minds. The more we understand how really bad we are, the more we see the astounding kindness of God in reaching down to pull us out of the pit. The gospel becomes better news to us when we see how bad the news is without it.