Any counseling that does not exhort one to true repentance is on sinking sand. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said; “Therefore, everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” Matthew 7:26
It is astounding the number of professing believers in Christ who have no clue about the spirit of repentance. True repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin. Heartfelt sorrow over sin does NOT focus on what one has lost as a result of negligence, rebellion, irresponsibility, carelessness, lusts, passions, disobedience, idolatry, greed, or covetousness. That is “worldly sorrow” and it produces death. II Corinthians 7:10
R.V.G. Tasker’s commentary on II Corinthians says concerning this worldly sorrow; “Sorrow for wrong doing which leaves God out of account is merely remorse, that melancholy compound of self-pity and self-disgust. So far as healing and uplifting, remorse depresses and embitters.”
I don’t know about other counselors, but in my experience, I often see a “form of repentance” that is likened to a “form of godliness” which the Apostle Paul speaks of in II Timothy 3:5. Paul writes that this disposition has no power because it denies the intent to become godly, to be conformed to the image of Christ, or to walk in the spirit of obedience. Is this not the same problem with repentance we see today in those who profess Christ and have a “form of repentance” and deny it’s power? And, may I be so bold to say that any program that does not exclusively require repentance at the foot of the cross, and sorrow for sin against Jesus Christ may have a form of repentance but is still denying it’s power.
I am reminded of Paul’s admonition to the church at Corinth when he writes “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:17-18
I think of the prodigal son who “wasted his possessions”, lost all that he had and ended up feeding swine. Can we not see what his greatest burden was?… “I have sinned against heaven and before you.” Luke 15:18 His first priority was his sorrow for sin against his father. It was not a worldly sorrow but a godly sorrow.
R.V.G. Tasker writes concerning godly sorrow; “All sorrow that leads to repentance can truly be said to be after a godly manner. For a man repents when he turns to God, sees his conduct as God sees it (sin), submits to God’s judgment and asks God to forgive him.” (Parentheses added.)
The Greek word for repentance, metanoia, means “a change of mind”. According to The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, it “denotes that inward change of mind, affections, convictions, and commitment rooted in the fear of God and sorrow for offenses against Him which, when accompanied by faith in Jesus Christ, results in an outward turning from sin to God and His service in all of life.”
As the Apostle Paul said to the body of Christ; “I have much to say” concerning this subject. My counsel to you is to make sure you have a godly sorrow and not a worldly sorrow for truly, godly sorrow will work a healing balm to your wounded and tormented soul. Hoping to shed some light into your soul.