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Restoration in a Transformational Community 19Settling for Nothing Less than True Repentance

The second phase of the restoration process is confession and repentance. Some of this may begin to take place during the stability phase, but often the level of repentance before this point of time probably will be based on being caught, and guilt over the damage done. During this phase, the team is guiding the person toward regaining an intimate relationship with God and experiencing godly sorrow that leads to repentance. This is where you will do the most work in exploring healing soul wounds and deliverance from sin choices in light of the work of the Spirit in the person’s life.

Avoid the temptation of rushing through this phase because the person says he or she is sorry. Often people have no idea what they should be sorry for. They make the issue about the actual thing they did—sexual misconduct or embezzlement or public drunkenness or whatever. These are merely symptoms of a deeper issue. One person who we were seeking to restore had committed adultery. During the process he went with his wife to a counselor and quickly apologized to her. The counselor was so impressed with the man’s ‘repentance’ that he released them from meeting with him after several sessions. As far as the person was concerned, he had repented and was now ready to move on. But the restoration team saw it much differently. The adultery was the outcome of a deeper, underlying pride issue that had not been addressed. The team quickly discovered from his push back that he did not want to deal with that deeper level of repentance.

Although people on the restoration team are usually not the main counselors for someone they are seeking to restore from sin, they must offer transformational counsel. They have to point out that symptoms reveal a hurt of the heart and the person is comforting that hurt with a sin in me choice. Failing to pursue this line of discipleship will most likely mean the person will never repent deeply enough to be freed from the addiction of sin. Being caught now may lead him or her to stop acting out on that sin, but its addictive nature will draw her or him back into it in time, even manifesting itself in another form. The person then will become more guarded so as not to be caught again. Since this team is committed to seeing the person restored, helping him or her to the point of discovery of what is underneath and allowing Jesus to heal and deliver is the marker that this phase has done its work.

Steve Smith