Not everyone who claims to have repentance and asks for forgiveness from sins does it from a truly repentant heart. There are some who lie when they claim to be sorry, and hypocrites who lack sympathy or understanding of biblical repentance.
So what are the true signs of genuine repentance? Here are some which are based on the word of God.
1. They are humble
They will be sad by what they’ve done and humble themselves. They will be convicted and mourn their sin. Isaiah 6:5, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.”
2. They Make It Up To Others
When we read the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector in the Bible, we read about how he made amends as part of his repentance. Luke 19: vs 8,9- “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” And Jesus confirmed the authenticity of Zacchaeus’s repentance: “Today salvation has come to this house.”
3. They Accept Consequences
They will accept the consequences as part of repentance. It may include relinquishing a position of authority, submitting to the law, etc., The thief on the cross who repented, said to his companion, “Do you not fear God? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve” (Luke 23:40–41).
4. They Don’t Force People To Forgive Them
People who repent insincerely often manipulate others to get forgiveness. They haven’t truly repented or understood the seriousness of what they’ve done. Jacob did not expect Esau to forgive him when he repented. He felt great fear and distress in Genesis 32 v 7. He considered himself unworthy of kindness (v. 10).
5. They Can Feel the Pain Caused To Others
They will feel the pain caused to the other party and not try to play it down or cancel it out. They won’t blame the offended ones for feeling hurt and fix the blame on them for making them sin.
A truly repentant person will realize that they need God to restore them and will also proactively work to change their behavior and take proper steps to rectify their behavior including getting away from their past habits and coming closer to the Lord.