Boxing with Jake

The movie Southpaw moved me like no other. Jake Gyllenhaal's character reflected much of what I go through in my struggles towards repentance. Reaching the pinnacle of his boxing career, he loses everything. Redemption came when his daughter cried out for true repentance instead of all his brute efforts to make things right.

I get rebuked. But often, I hide and pay more attention to the embarrassing pain it induces. It reveals the fabric of my feigned remorse: I do not really hate the discovered sin. It is the consequence of what it does to me that I hate. And so I turn to self-pity. I feel bad about myself and I seek retaliation towards those who dug up my mess. This is not repentance. It is a lurid editorial of my propensity toward self-righteousness. It is the sin of Adam. It is the sin that facilitated our corporate fall.

True repentance ignores the personal pain of having been discovered with sin. A deep recognition of what sin does to Christ becomes the only agenda. It brings out the cosmic treason and insult it hurls at the Cross of Christ. Jesus spared nothing to grant me freedom from sin's bondage. All that he requires is the adoption of his imputed righteousness, even when I fall. And so, I repent by not taking sin to my puny mountain of self-righteousness but towards the resplendent glory of Mt. Calvary.

When I turn to the cross when I fail, I find the outstretched arms of my Savior reminding me all over again of the depth and wonder of His loyal love. I am engulfed by his grace and mercy.

Truly, as grace and mercy are Christ's one and two punches, I never last a second at Round One. I am always declared winner even before the bout begins.