I have a confession to make: I don’t like the word “repent.” It’s a little embarrassing, but it’s true. As a faith leader and a theologian, I know that repentance is a key part of our Christian walk, but I still feel a little uncomfortable every time I hear it.
I think part of the reason for this is that the term has been hijacked. It has been used as a weapon by people who seem to feel better about themselves by making others look and feel worse. This isn’t what repentance is about. The term repentance comes from a Greek term which means to “turn around.”
The problem is that we focus so much on what we are supposed to be turning away from and forget who we are called to turn toward. When we only focus on what we should repent of, we can so easily fall into moving from one vice toward another. We can advance away from one sin in our life, only to adopt the sin of self- righteousness or judgment of others.Biblical repentance is rooted in who we are turning toward. It should always point us to Jesus. In my own life, I have found that if I focus on trying to repent from my sins without first turning toward God’s grace, I’m liable to end up worse off than when I started. I hope we can begin to take back repentance. Let us root it once again on who we are turning to, not what we are turning away from. After all, it’s only by God’s grace that we have any hope of change. Let’s start there.
Questions of the Day
- Repentance is rooted in turning to God in every area of our lives. What is one way that you feel called to turn toward God this week?
- What would it look like to trust in God more in that area of your life?
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)