In The Gospel of Mark chapter one Jesus was preaching the message: “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Repentance was a precursor to belief and faith. I am convinced more and more, that many people who think they have a faith problem today in reality probably have more of an issue with repentance. The reason they are not seeing what they are praying for is because they’ve yet to truly repent. The way many mistakenly related to God is by asking Him to bless what they want, where they are, and what they have fallen into. And that is where many continue to crash into these Icebergs of Unrepentance, trying to live life our own way, without turning to God and allowing him to change us. What happens when we crash into one of these icebergs, is that something that was seemingly small just altered the course of our future. The unique thing to consider about an iceberg is that only about ten percent of it is ever seen on the surface. The majority of it is always lurking hidden below where we can see. These icebergs of unrepentance affect marriages, business relationships, friends and family, these icebergs change the way we even relate to ourselves – they bruise us and even leave us broken.
The first iceberg that many crash into is the iceberg of pride. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (NIV). Pride invites offense, if you don’t have pride then you can’t be offended. Pride excuses away offense, leaving you feeling a sense of justification in your choice to be offended. And pride masks offense. If you do not deal with pride, you will hang on to being offended.
The second iceberg many people collide with is the iceberg of unforgiveness. Jesus himself teaches us Matthew 6 that if we refuse to extend forgiveness then we are unable to receive forgiveness – when we don’t forgive we are breaking covenant and communion with our Heavenly Father and at the same time we are establishing a connection and bond with the Devil by directing hatred, judgement and punishment towards another person. Unforgiveness is prejudicial, and is rooted in our view of others, determining they are not worthy of grace and therefore have no value. Paul encourages us in 2 Corinthians 2 to forgive “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Some things to consider are: unforgiveness is sin and sin leads to death, unforgiveness is a permission slip to the Devil to mess with us, unforgiveness is torture to you – you aren’t hurting the other person by unforgiving, you are hurting YOU!
And finally the third iceberg that crushes many is the iceberg of bitterness. This is probably the biggest and the one that carries the most tragic, poisonous and long lasting effects in a person’s life. In fact in the Apostle Paul warns us: See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:15 NIV) The word “root” the original context is a specific type of root that we call a “rhizome” today. It is the kind of root that many weeds and grasses have that cause them to spread and spring up from roots unseen. These kind of plants can invade your flower garden, and in that same way bitterness can take over your heart.
So what can you do? Repent. Repentance signifies both a change of mind and a change of direction. It really has three elements: Change your mind about you – recognize that you need forgiveness and grace! Change your mind about Jesus – He loves you, cares for you and can set your free. Change your direction – choose today to stop running your own way, and start running to Him!