Many times, I have had a person come to me asking my advice regarding returning to his/her mate. Now, this is a wonderful thing if partners can

Chuck Colson from

Chuck Colson from

work out their issues, repent of their sins before God and to each other, and live spiritually changed lives. However, change is not just lip service. One should be busy activating changes in his/her behavior before asking another to trust that such changes are real.

Chuck Colson served as Special Counsel to President Nixon. He speaks of repentance in his book, “Practical Christianity.” He had no direction in life after losing his position until he became a believer and repented of his part in the Watergate mess.

Chuck Colson says, “The conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit is the beginning. Without it, we cannot understand our need for God, and we cannot understand God’s grace…If I were asked today to name the one doctrine of the Christian faith being preached about the least, I would have to say repentance. Repentance means change, and we don’t want to threaten people with the need to change…

The Greek word used in the New Testament means simply, “change of mind.” When you come to God, you have a change of mind, from exalting yourself to exalting Christ. Repentance means turning from man’s ways to embrace God’s ways. It means a desire to be different, to belong to Christ and to live as he commands us to live. Repentance, then, is the longing to turn away from the old self and live a new life in Christ…

There is a certain sorrow that goes with repentance, a sorrow over your sins, a desire to restore where you have done harm in the past… to apologize to some of the people I had hurt…to seek their forgiveness because I realized that God had forgiven me…

That’s what happens when the conviction of sin leads to repentance. The yearning for God’s cleansing is so strong that we cannot find peace until we have accepted that “change of mind” and begin to walk in the new life with the Lord.” (Taken from Practical Christianity, “What it Means to Repent” by Charles Colson.)

Therefore, until one sees repentance in action from a partner, do not jump back into the relationship. If it is truly repentance, your partner should be thrilled to prove him or herself via their actions over time.  Until we see a true pattern of change in action over an extended period of time (might be 6 months to a year even), don’t assume that one’s words match their actions.