Even after we face up to our sin and hurtful behavior, change is elusive. Fervent and well-meaning resolutions to be better rarely produce lasting change and often backfire, causing despair and deeper backsliding. Real repentance occurs in the context of a love that is unconditional, that does not demand that we change in order to go on loving us.
This is deeply paradoxical and unnerving, but it’s only in the context of unconditional love that real change, real personal development, can occur. And it’s this kind of love that Jesus extends to us.