A few weeks ago I was shocked by the news about the great number of wrong-way drivers causing accidents here in Florida. Of course the reason for that mistake are many, alcohol, drugs, lack of attention, visibility, etc. The biggest problem is that many of those drivers are convinced that they are going in the right direction, which makes things worse.
Repentance is a very important theme during Lent. It means a change in how you see things and in your behavior. During Lent we are challenged to review our life, and make changes that are necessary to keep us on the right track.
In this way we can say that “repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs.” We remember our personal inadequacies and shortcomings and realign our course based on the path left for us by Christ.
Here are three ways to understand repentance:
1. Repentance is when we realize that where we are going is wrong – This is the most important realization in our life. This is what those drivers who are going in the wrong direction should do. This is the first step in our Christian journey. This is what Jesus preached: “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15.” The theological term for this is conversion. We realize that we are going in the wrong direction, we turn around, and we start walking in the right direction.
2. Repentance is when we realize that what we are doing is wrong – The next way of understanding repentance is recognizing our shortcomings and our wrongdoings. You know and I know that we are not perfect. Even when we try our best, we still err and do things that we would not like to do. The problem is that sometimes we are doing things that we do not realize are wrong. Repentance is when we learn about our wrongdoings and change our behavior. It is through the Word of God that we will learn. This is what the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in his second letter: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2Timothy 3:16-17.” The words rebuking and correcting demonstrate the repentance. Rebuking is showing the wrongdoing, and correcting is showing the right attitude that should be taken.
3. Repentance is when we realize that our thinking or belief is wrong – The third way to understand repentance is about our way of thinking. This is what Paul wrote to the Philippi church: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Philippians 4:8.” As you can see this is a process. We should recognize our wrong thoughts and beliefs and replace them with right ones. This will take time, but God through His Spirit will help us.
During this season, every time that you read the Scriptures ask God to show you if there is a need in your life to repent and change directions, behavior, or way of thinking, and ask God to help you to make those changes. Our prayer should be the same of David in the Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23.”
Have a blessed week,