The Joy of Repentance
What feelings come to your mind when you think of repentance? Perhaps sorrow, shame, or fear comes to mind. When we repent of our sins, we are sorrowful for offending the Holy God with our sin. We are likely ashamed of the things we have done to offend Him. We may be afraid of God's punishment, or afraid that God will reject us.
In fact, the Bible tells us that God will not reject those who repent and place their trust in Him. In fact, the opposite is true. God rejoices when someone repents and turns to Him for forgiveness and restoration.
Jesus illustrated this truth in three parables found in Luke 15. In this chapter Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep, in which the shepherd rejoiced when he found his lost sheep. He also told the parable of the lost coin, in which a woman rejoices when she finds her lost coin. He also told the parable of the prodigal son, in which the father rejoices when his wayward son returns.
At the conclusion of each of these parables Jesus tells us that God rejoices when we repent and return to Him. In verse 7 Jesus said there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents. In verse 10 He said there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels when one sinner repents. In verse 32 the father said he had to celebrate when his son returned. Jesus gave us three parables in a row to tell us the same thing - that God is delighted when we return to Him. Obviously, Jesus repeated this truth to emphasize its importance. To God, the repentance of just one sinner is enough to make Him throw a party in heaven!
Since God is so delighted when we repent, why should we fear to approach Him? As long as we are truly repentant ( sorrowful for sin and desiring a restored relationship with God - not just trying to avoid punishment) God will receive us with joy and restore us to fellowship with Himself.
Do not give in to the temptation to avoid God when you feel guilty for sin. The penalty for your sins was paid by the blood of Jesus on the cross. You cannot hide from Him, nor should you try. Instead, go to Him. Find restoration for your soul and joy in His presence.