2006 will probably go down as the big year for mea culpas. Mea Culpa is the Latin for: a personal acknowledgment of failure or fault. Inserting the Latin word ‘maxima’ changes it to a ‘big’ failure.

November was the month a stand-up comic actor committed a potentially career-ending blunder. During his stand-up comedy act at a Hollywood club, he lost his cool and called hecklers the ‘n-word’ unleashing a storm of criticism for his racist remark. Such a despicable comment has the potential to wreck the career of a comedian and actor. The offender has been saying sorry all over the place. On David Letterman’s “Late Night” Show, on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s national radio program, to Rev. Al Sharpton, America’s civil rights leader and now in a face to face meeting with the four black men who were the targets of his rant. But the comedian vociferously denies he is racist.

Earlier in November, a well-known church pastor was forced to resign when a masseur exposed their relationship. In September, a high profile American politician resigned over inappropriate and sexually explicit electronic messages to young congressional workers and entered a rehab program for alcoholism.

In July, a very famous actor and producer profusely apologized for his anti-Semitic rant to the arresting officer when he was being charged for driving ‘under the influence.’ He repeatedly apologized for the words that escaped his lips and blamed it on his problem with booze.

Even Pope Benedict XVI took considerable heat for comments he made about Islam earlier in 2006. He never issued an apology but he did express regret for offending Muslims and said the quotes in his speech did not express his own personal views.

The above examples were taken from CNN’s story published on December 01, 2006, entitled: Who’s Sorry Now? Apparently Everybody! I am not exploiting the failures or the struggles of these celebrities, but I do want to make a point about popular apologies.

Who’s to Blame?

It seems all these high profile blunders could be blamed on something. Some blamed it on provocation and acknowledged the need to take an anger management course and some racial sensitivity training programs. Others apologized but blamed it on alcohol. Others blamed it on past experiences in life. Some said it was a misunderstanding.

Counselors, business advisors, and personal handlers coach the offenders to quickly admit the wrong they’ve down and submit to some therapy or training, and the quicker the better. Do what you have to, to patch things up and get back out on stage. Do your mea culpa and then you’re back in business – hopefully.

Perhaps you have come across this post because you are feeling guilt for something you have done – perhaps it is still a secret or maybe it has blown-up.

Sometimes we think a few mea culpas on our knees before God will clear everything up and get us in good standing with God again. A reckless night when you totally blew it and then: “I’m sorry God.” A big lie or a crooked deal and then a confession. The confession makes us feel good – it’s therapeutic! Some promote the recital of a sinner’s prayer as if parroting a prayer will produce a change!

What is Repentance?

Is there a place for a mea culpa in your relationship with God? Yes, there is – but God calls it something else. A different name and of a different character than what you have just read.

The Bible calls it repentance. Jesus repeated, twice over to a group of people, these words: “Except you repent, you shall perish.” Luke 13:3,5 God ‘now commands all people everywhere to repent…’ Acts 17:30 Here is what God is looking for from you: ‘Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21

Repentance is a complete change in one’s thinking about one’s self and about God. Whether you call it a ‘U-turn,’ a ‘180,’ or an ‘about-face,’ the picture is clear: a complete shift in your thinking. It is NOT telling God you did wrong things but they were caused by lack of self-control, or alcohol, provocation, or baggage from the past.

Repentance is telling God you are dead wrong. Period. ‘God, I not only commit sins that are offensive to You, I am a sinner without any excuse. I deserve no mercy. I am guilty. I can not speak a word in my defense. I deserve eternal punishment for what I’ve done and who I am. I can not help myself. I am lost. I need the Saviour!

What is Faith?

If that’s repentance, what is faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ? It is the moment a sinner turns to the Lord Jesus Christ to be rescued – looks to Him for salvation. The Bible clearly states that when we had no strength to save ourselves, “Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 “Christ died for our sins.” 1Corinthians 15:3 Faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ is simply trusting Him for salvation. Accepting His death for your sins as the only way you can ever be accepted by God.

Have you ever turned to God and repented of your sins? Have you ever looked by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ and embraced Him as your Saviour? Without this spiritual transaction, Jesus said, you will perish. Attend to this important matter today. If you have something to tell the Lord today, tell Him now.