All too often in the modern church, repentance is tucked away in the personal and private lives of people who want to obtain absolution without thought for the continuing effects of sin. We look for exoneration rather than justification and restoration. We prefer to concentrate on the compartmentalized sins of our lives at this controlled and controllable moment rather than to view the ugliness of our idolatry on the grand stage of life. It is not only the passing adulterous thought or murderous deeds of today or yesterday that the Bible addresses when it speaks of repentance; rather, it refers to the lifelong pattern of idolatry that needs confessing.
Bill T. Arnold, 1 & 2 Samuel, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 135.