Over one Christmas holiday I was flipping through channels one afternoon and caught a movie channel playing one of the “Godfather” flicks – I don’t know which one. I paused for a few minutes and watched a very interesting scene.
The Al Pacino character was in a garden with some Italian bishop or cardinal. The clergyman was trying to advise Pacino spiritually and was telling him he should go to confession and there was nothing he had ever done that God could not forgive him for. In the scene, Pacino responded with an absolutely great line. He said; “Yes, but don’t you have to repent?” I was struck by the truth of it.
His character in the movie was admitting that confession would be fruitless because in his heart, he knew he had no intention of changing. This reminds me of what John the Baptist told the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to him to be baptized. He said; “Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8)
Real repentance is what brings forgiveness. Real repentance means we turn around and go in another direction. Sometimes the truth is that we don’t want to give up the sin that has such a hold on us. I know; I’ve been there myself.
If a sin like that is gripping you now, start with honestly telling God you don’t want to give it up. You need his help even in the desire to repent. When you are honest and willing you will experience the peace and release that comes from true confession. That is what will turn you around. That is real repentance.