Do you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? The one where you’d be reading the story, then it would say something like, “Do you want to fight the dragon? If so, turn to page 81. If not, turn to page 90.”
When I meet with someone who’s been caught in sin the first thing I do is listen, and the main thing I’m listening for is whether there’s real repentance. (Now hear this clearly: I NEVER feel adequate to determine whether a person is truly repentant. I’m just a human, and not a very discerning one at that. So I listen as best I can and pray real hard for God to show me the truth. And even then I’m never totally sure. Which I typically tell the person.)
Whether or not the person is truly repentant is where we get to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” part. If the person is truly repentant, I believe that what they need most is grace and a path to healing, accountability and restoration. If the person is just sorry they got caught, I believe that what they need most is truth. Hard, in your face, cutting, uncomfortable truth. More on that next time.