When we think of a Jane Austen heroine in need of sincere repentance, Emma Woodhouse comes to mind. When Emma speaks cruelly to Miss Bates and says she’s dull in front of everyone at Box Hill, we cringe with pain and agony. Austen tells us that in Emma’s moment of irritation, she “could not resist.” She opens her mouth and lets it rip.
Mr. Knightley tells Emma later that it “was badly done . . . in thoughtless spirits, and the pride of the moment, [to] laugh at her” and “humble her.” In response, Emma feels “anger against herself, mortification, and deep concern.” On the ride home, she is “most forcibly struck. The truth of this representation there was no denying. She felt it at her heart. How could she have been so brutal, so cruel to Miss Bates!” Emma spends the evening in serious reflection and visits Miss Bates the next morning to make amends as best she can.
Look with Mercy on the Sins we have this day committed, & in Mercy make us feel them deeply, that our Repentance may be sincere, and our Resolutions stedfast of endeavouring against the commission of such in future. Teach us to understand the sinfulness of our own Hearts, and bring to our knowledge every fault of Temper and every evil Habit in which we may have indulged to the discomfort of our fellow-creatures, and the danger of our own Souls.
Do you wish you could erase and re-record certain moments in your life when you said or did the wrong thing?