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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
66- Repentance, joy and contrition
(7) Repentance, joy and contrition
Orthodoxy emphasises the contrition of the soul of the repentant. He should remember before God the sins he committed, drenching his bed with his tears as David the Prophet did. Protestantism, however, pushes people towards joy, which involves no contrition. In most cases, the repentant directly becomes a minister, which gives him no chance to grieve in his inner self over his sins. The reason the Protestants give for this attitude is that a repentant should rejoice over his salvation.
In replying to this point, we put before them the incident of the people of Israel eating the Passover lamb: In the midst of their joy for their salvation from the sword of the Angel of Death, they had to eat the Passover lamb with bitter herbs, according to the Lord's command (Ex.12: 8). The bitter herbs reminded them of their sins because of which they were enslaved to Pharaoh. It is true that eating the Passover lamb reminded them of salvation and its joy but the lamb had to be eaten with bitter herbs.
What is the position of bitter herbs in repentance according to the Protestant concept? One of the Protestant books even attacked the phrase “Lord have mercy” which we say in our prayers! It also attacked all the phrases of contrition, condemning them to be against the joy of salvation.
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