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Saying Im Sorry for All the Right Reasons
Scripture: Job 42:6; Psalms 51:1-4; Job 40:7-24; Jo...
Track 9 of 11 in the Job: Endure to the End series
Running time: 51 minutes, 19 seconds.
Repentance is a powerful act. Repentance is the first step to healing no matter what the hurt is. No one can even begin to find their way home to God without the act of repentance. It is not something we feel, repentance is a lot more than that.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Saying “I’m Sorry” for All the Right Reasons

How hard is it to cultivate a humble heart in an angry culture? Let me ask this in another way; is it true that a repentant spirit is hard to find in a touchy society like ours today? How often do we hear, “I’m wrong; I am truly sorry; will you please forgive me?” As opposed to “I will sue you! I will take you to court!” We see and hear about these sorts of things all the time. There is not a day that goes by when someone is suing someone else for unbelievable reasons. In our country today, anyone can sue someone else. There is no such thing as someone being wrong and admitting to it, for many in our society today, finger pointing, playing the blame game and other methods to avoid personal responsibility seem to be the rule.

What harm can come to a society when a lack of repentance becomes the norm? What harm does an unrepentant heart cause an individual?

There is no question; the American society today is one lacking in repentance and forgiveness. This act of finger pointing is expensive business. According to the Department of Commerce in 2004,

• Civil lawsuits cost the U.S. economy a reeling $233 billion a year.

• Each American citizen is now estimated to pay a "lawsuit tax" of anywhere between $700 and $800 a year due to unnecessary litigation.

• American Medical Association estimates that $70 billion to $126 billion could be saved in annual health care costs by eliminating so-called "unreasonable" jury awards thus lowering the cost of medical insurance. The number one county for frivolous lawsuits is Madison County, IL.

A very interesting phenomena is happening, “road rage”, pointing to the fact that more and more people today are less patient and more apt to play out their anger on someone else only because another person crossed them the wrong way. What is fascinating to me is how many Christians themselves partake in road rage.

That's the thought progression someone might have just before switching into road-rage mode, leading a driver to make irrational decisions very quickly. All of a sudden, you might be thinking: They need to know that what they're doing is dangerous and stupid, and you should show them. In fact, you should punish them.

Psychologists Dr. Leon James and Dr. Diane Nahl say that one factor in road rage is our tendency to concentrate on ourselves while dismissing the communal aspect of driving. It's very easy to perceive another driver's actions in terms of how it affects us, which in turn makes it easy to transition into anger.

Some statistics:

• 50% of drivers subjected to some sort of aggressive driving respond with aggression of their own.

• The survey, administered by Response Insurance, revealed that 34 percent of drivers say they honk their horn at the aggressor, 27 percent yell, 19 percent give the finger back, 17 percent flash their headlights and 7 percent mimic the initial aggressive driving behavior. Two percent of drivers admit to trying to run the aggressor off the road.

• When it comes to aggressive responses, men are more likely than women to do so (54% vs. 46%), as are drivers age 18-24 (67%) versus drivers 65 and older (30%). Drivers with children are more likely to respond aggressively (59%) versus those without children (45%), and cell phone users (59%) versus those who do not use a cell phone while driving (39%).

What is the point to all of this, I go back to my opening thoughts, it is hard to cultivate a humble heart in an angry culture. It is true that a repentant spirit is hard to find in a touchy society like ours today…especially with those of us who have hearts that reach out to God. It is very difficult to teach our kids and grand kids the importance of walking humbly with God when they see us react sometimes in harsh and unforgiving ways. It is a wonder that the words, “I repent” are rarely heard these days.

We are going to jump ahead today to chapter 42. We are going to open up with a statement by Job that for many is an impossible statement to make and actually mean it.

Job 42:6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

This is a remarkable statement in light of the context in which Job said it. Nothing in Job’s situation had changed. He was still without his fortune and family. He was still in poverty and still had 10 kids dead, buried in the ground. He was still covered head to foot with sores. Nothing in his physical life had changed when he repented of what he said and thought. His friends were still next to him repeating the same message to him that he had listened to for several days. But with none of that turned around and changed, he bows before God his Lord and sighs, I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

This represents repentance for all the right reasons.

Repentance is a powerful act. Repentance is the first step to healing no matter what the hurt is. No one can even begin to find their way home to God without the act of repentance. It is not something we feel, repentance is a lot more than that.

Someone define for me repentance? What is it and how does it affect our relationship with God?
David was masterful when he wrote about his repentance. Psalms 51 is what David wrote about his repentance following the misery he endured in the backwash of his adultery with Bathsheba. He wrote this song realizing the wrongness of his action.

Psalms 51:1-4 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

According to this passage, what are some of the key things about true and heartfelt repentance? What is the difference between repentance for the right reasons and repentance for other reasons?

I find two very important things here about repentance; it always provides two sacrifices that God likes: a broken spirit and a contrite heart. How can you tell if someone has the right kind of repentance that results in a broken spirit and a contrite heart? 5 characteristics of a broken spirit and contrite heart:

1. A contrite heart nurses no grudges. A broken spirit blames no one. David could have blamed a lot of people for causing him all his problems, but in reality, David knew the problem was in him and him alone.

2. A contrite heart makes no demands. Others responses aren’t a part of our agenda.

3. A contrite heart has no expectations. A broken spirit doesn’t expect good treatment nor does it expect people to understand or for them to forgive.

4. A broken spirit offers no conditions. No ifs, no maybes, no buts, no bargains.

5. A broken spirit and contrite heart anticipates no favors. Because of repentance, there is no anticipation you will do something gracious for me. I am on my own before God.

When these things transpire in full repentance, there is no room left for bitterness.

How do you think repentance begins? Where does all this start? How does a person come to the point where he or she totally quits giving excuses and owns up to everything and changes in their heart? Have you ever been frustrated by your kids? Have there been times when you feel utterly exasperated by the things they do no matter how hard you try to be a good parent?

There were times when right before I was ready to use some harsher techniques, I would stand the frustrator in front of me and I would put both my hands on their shoulders and we would have an eye to eye talk about the situation going on. In most cases that placing of the hands on their shoulders meant that the next step was coming and they didn’t want to go there. It worked for most of the time.

In a similar way, I’m suggesting that God did the same thing and gave him a firm talking to. During the 77 question quiz God gave to Job, there were some questions that got Job’s attention and straightened him out.

Job 40:7-14 “I have some more questions for you, and I want straight answers. “Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong? Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint? Do you have an arm like my arm? Can you shout in thunder the way I can? Go ahead, show your stuff. Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do. Unleash your outrage. target the arrogant and lay them flat. Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees. Stop the wicked in their tracks—make mincemeat of them! Dig a mass grave and dump them in it—faceless corpses in an unmarked grave. I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—you can surely save yourself with no help from me!

What is the point God is trying to make with Job? God is being very plain about this, there is a lot God has to take care of, it is a job only God can do. You don’t have the ability, I do. You aren’t God, I AM.

As a dad, have you ever had that kind of conversation with one of your kids? It usually happens when they get old enough to desire some independence. There is a difference between a desire for independence and rebellion. What is the difference? What do you do when there is a challenge to authority within the family?

As I think back to the times when I had the face to face conversations with my kids, usually after I got to the place where I reinforced my authority that I was dad and they weren’t, I usually tried to better explain myself and the situation with an example. Today when we are all together, my kids will replay those scenes and have a good time laughing at how scared they were and how ferocious I was. They proceed to mock my examples and count how many times I repeated myself. What is funny about all this, someday when they find themselves in the same situation with their kids, I wonder what examples they will use?

This is exactly what God does with Job. He moves onto some examples to backup his earlier words to Job. God will reach into the animal world and use two examples; the Behemoth (Hippo) and the Leviathan (Crock).

Job 40:15-24 Look at the land beast, Behemoth. I created him as well as you. Grazing on grass, docile as a cow—Just look at the strength of his back, the powerful muscles of his belly. His tail sways like a cedar in the wind; his huge legs are like beech trees. His skeleton is made of steel, every bone in his body hard as steel. Most magnificent of all my creatures, but I still lead him around like a lamb! The grass-covered hills serve him meals, while field mice frolic in his shadow. He takes afternoon naps under shade trees, cools himself in the reedy swamps, Lazily cool in the leafy shadows as the breeze moves through the willows. And when the river rages he doesn’t budge, stolid and unperturbed even when the Jordan goes wild. But you’d never want him for a pet—you’d never be able to housebreak him!

What is the point of this example used by God?

Job 41:1-11 Can you catch a crocodile with a hook or put a noose around its jaw? Can you tie it with a rope through the nose or pierce its jaw with a spike? Will it beg you for mercy or implore you for pity? Will it agree to work for you? Can you make it be your slave for life? Can you make it a pet like a bird, or give it to your little girls to play with? Will merchants try to buy it? Will they sell it in their shops? Will its hide be hurt by darts, or its head by a harpoon? If you lay a hand on it, you will never forget the battle that follows, and you will never try it again! “No, it is useless to try to capture it. The hunter who attempts it will be thrown down. And since no one dares to disturb the crocodile, who would dare to stand up to me? Who will confront me and remain safe? Everything under heaven is mine.

We didn’t get a change to read it, at one time before all this started; Job stated that he wanted to plead his case before God. If only God would come and talk with him. The implications seemed to lead to the thinking, “He owes me a hearing”. After the way I’ve lived and all that I have gone through, the least God can do is present Himself before me.

That is dangerous thinking! I have to admit, there have been times when I questioned God and from reading Job, I have learned that is a very dangerous action. Man does not give God the script to follow when it comes to our lives. Many times when we pray, that is exactly what we pray like…God; I want you to do the following. It is not our prerogative to dictate the parameters of God’s plan. That is not ours to do since everything under heaven is his. Job sees all that now and repents.

Job 42:2-5 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You ask, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I. And I was talking about things I did not understand, things far too wonderful for me. “You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ “I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

Where are you when it comes to making demands of God? Do you get upset, frustrated or plain mad when things in life don’t go the way you want? Have you ever considered that things are just as God planned? The question is, will we humble ourselves and allow God to use us the way He knows is best.