It would seem that I am not alone in being shocked by Ted Haggard's "over-repentance" as quoted in the postscript of my recent post. How exactly does someone "over-repent"? Well Todd Friel shared a fascinating insight into what Ted may be talking about . . .
Sincere repentance is a result of a Holy Spirit wrought transformation of an individual. Ezekiel described the conversion experience that Jesus was talking about when He said that we must be born again (John 3:3,7):
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
Ezekiel then goes on to describe some of the results of the Holy Spirit's regenerative work in a lost sinner:
Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. (Ezekiel 36:31)
The Apostle Paul said that it is godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-11). Worldly sorrow leads to death. We all sin, but not everyone repents. Next time we have sin exposed in our lives we should examine ourselves and ask the question whether we are sorry for offending God or sorry that we got caught (or sorry for the negative human consequences). This is the difference between godly and worldly sorrow.
Ultimately, our depravity is so radical that true repentance can only come as a gift from God as Ezekiel revealed (Ezekiel 36:31) and as we see in the book of Acts (Acts 11:18). We can only hope and pray that Ted Haggard will find true repentance all the while being mindful of our own lives.
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
. . . but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2b)
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar. (Psalm 51)