Repentance vs. Perfection

Sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to the negative statements in the Bible. 

Case in point: Psalm 7:11-13

Psalm 7 is a Psalm of David, appealing to the Lord to save him from his enemies. A familiar theme, yes. But then I read these three verses:

God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.
If a man does not repent (emphasis mine), He will sharpen His sword;
He has bent His bow and made it ready.
He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons. (Psalm 7:11-13)

God, as a righteous judge, will bring his judgement on whom? Those who transgress? Yes, but there is a condition. Not just those who sin, but those who do not repent. 

As I mulled this over, it struck me that it is this attribute— repentance— that sets David apart from others. He sinned, yes. Sometimes even as a clear choice, as in when he numbered the people. Yet he always repented. Not just an “I’m sorry, God. Now please make it all better,” but a true repentance, a godly sorrow along with an acceptance of the consequences to follow. And a moving forward with a firm belief in God’s forgiveness. 

I, on the other hand, so often put the emphasis on perfection, not repentance in my own life. In fact, if I am honest, I put the emphasis on perfection instead of repentance in the lives of those closest to me, as well. But I think the negative statement in Psalm 7:12 indicates that my indignation, like God’s, should be saved for those who do not repent instead of those who fall short of perfection but whose lives are marked by the true humility of repentance. Because a life characterized by repentance is a life focused on conforming to the character of God. And isn’t that the work He is perfecting in each of us anyway?