A quick thesaurus search for the word repentance yields two definitions that stand out to me: self-reproach and remorse.
I especially like “self-reproach” because it implies that it is the individual’s responsibility to align themselves with what is right instead of what the crazy society of today insists is everyone else’s fault.
Before repentance can happen, however, people need to meet its close cousin; shame.
Shame has gotten a bad rap in my mind.
It’s the catalyst for change…life-affirming, soul-saving change. It’s a good thing.
You can’t have true repentance, I believe, without it…otherwise, why repent? If you’re not ashamed of the sin in your life, the evil things you do (evil by God’s estimate, not the world’s) then why bother repenting at all?
I love to read stories about people who have overcome their own faults, but what I love most is the stories where those people overcame their faults through repentance.
Remorse for what they’ve done or who they’ve become.
In today’s society, repentance is a naughty word.
Why should I “repent” when that’s “just who I am”?
What some think is a means of “freedom to be whoever or whatever you are”, is in reality heavy chains to bind you to forever living in darkness, both figuratively – and unfortunately – in reality.
If you’ve got time, read Culture Warrior Bill Muehlenberg’s treatise on repentance.
I especially like this quote [emphasis mine]:
“True repentance is not a transient act, as if a sigh or a pang of sorrow for sin amounted to it. No, these may indeed be acts of true repentance, while they issue from a heart sincerely penitent: but repentance itself, instead of being a passing act, is an abiding principle, a lasting disposition of soul, a gracious principle lying deep in the heart, disposing a man at all times to mourn for and turn from sin (Zech. 12:10). The waters of godly sorrow for sin in the renewed heart will continue to spring up there while sin is there…” John Colquhoun
I expect non-Christians to shake their head at my apparent silliness…or even hate what I say…but I’m not speaking to them…they are not my assignment. The burden I bear in my heart for the Bride tells me they are the ones I must engage in conversation.
We are told to “Be Holy for I am Holy.”
Impossible without repentance.