264. Repentance: Failing or Making Progress?

“The other day,” Stan began, “we talked about repentance and what I saw in something the apostle Paul said.  [Note to Reader:  See Posting Number 261, “Repentance:  More Than Just Words.”]

“You’re right,” I responded.  “The need to do something, not just talk about it.”

“This morning,” Stan continued, “I would like to revisit something we talked about some time ago and focus on its meaning in connection with repentance.”

“Fire away,” I said.

“Do you remember when I mentioned about falling in potholes and how to avoid that?”

“A little,” I responded.  [Note to Reader:  See Posting Number 113, “Potholes.”]

There is a little story written by Portia Nelson that, while I don’t think it mentions the word ‘repentance’, has a tremendous lesson for repentance and its progression.”

Continuing, Stan said, “her story is about walking down a street.  She said she walked down a street, fell in a hole, and took seemingly forever to find a way out of the hole.”

“She then walked down the same street, fell into the same hole, and it took a long time to get herself out.”

“Then she walked down the same street, fell into the same hole, but got right out.”

“She then walked down the same street, saw the same hole, and walked around it.”

“Then she walked down a different street.”

“While the story doesn’t specifically say it, there is a valuable lesson for me concerning repentance, the need for me to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in leading me where and where not to go in my life, and the essential nature of making progress in repentance.”

Continuing, Stan said, “If I say I am not going to continue doing such and such, but I refuse to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit in helping my repentance, I will just continue with what I do and where I go, falling into the same old holes.”

“However, if I listen to and follow the Holy Spirit, I will truly repent and walk down different streets avoiding the pits and the falls.”

“It is easy to condemn myself for failed repentance, but it is essential that I not end my efforts to repent at the first failure, or even those failures that come later, but to measure the progress that comes from my listening to and following the Holy Spirit.  If I do that, there will come a time I can look back and rejoice that I am walking down God’s street, not the street of self, the world, the flesh, and the devil!”


Repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.  Acts of the Apostles 26:20.

Prayer:  Lord, you are fully aware of how easy it is for me to fall into the same hole over and over by doing the same thing.  You know and I know how often I say I am not going to do the same thing, falling in to the same pit, but I fail to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice in leading me.  Please forgive all of the times I fail to follow His lead.  And please help me in every way you can so that I truly repent, not just talk about repentance, and truly listen to your help in leading me down your path, rather than my own.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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