But there has to be a maximum time limit on mourning our sins or else we will walk around like Eoyore, forgetting the victory which Jesus has secured. Repentance must lead to rejoicing (or it isn’t repentance) because God’s mercies, and our experience of them, are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23). A good reminder to us all, especially when we experience the consequences of our sin.
The last two nights I had both a rare privilege and frustration: watching the Tampa Bay Rays on TV. Unfortunately when the Rays are on TV, it is because they are playing either the Red Sox or Yankees. On back-to-back nights they lost by one run to both.
One of the announcers, Rick Sutcliffe, commented on whether or not losing 1-0 to the Red Sox in 16 innings the night before would have a tangible adverse affect on the Rays playing the Yankees the next night. He believed the frustrating loss wouldn’t hurt the Rays, citing manager Joe Maddon’s “30 minute rule.”
The 30 minute rule means that the team can/should reflect on the bitterness for the loss for only 30 minutes. After that, they cannot dwell on it anymore. It’s in the past, and they have to play another game the next day (more often than not with 162 game season).
I’m not sure that there is a minimum time limit we should mourn for the bitterness of our sin. The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite Spirit, and that obviously involves being bothered by our general and particular sins. However, particularly in regard to our particular sins (but the general as well), we should be reminded that we must not remain in such a mournful state for too long. Christ has already forgiven sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18).