Posts Tagged ‘repentance’

God’s Kindness Leads to Our Changing Our Life

January 18, 2017

Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? — Paul, to the Roman church

If you judge other people as to the things they do that are wrong, you judge yourself as well.

Paul was very clear. He listed all the moral wrongs that people do. He must have realized that when people heard that list, they would immediately assume that the list applied to other people. Then he hits them, hard, by saying in essence that you also do things morally wrong. How is it then that you can sit there with righteous face on condemning others? You also are condemned.

But Paul doesn’t leave us just hanging out there condemned. He offers an alternative.

Already in the letter he hints at the theme. God’s grace.

Is repentance one of those words that triggers images of mean-spirited men or women with frowning faces, pointing fingers, shouting at you that you’re going to hell?

Actually all it means is that where once your life journey took you to places with people that you should not have gone to and with. Then you decide, with God’s help, to turn in a different direction and live life differently.

Instead of following our passions, our emotions, our “friends”, we start acting according to the many examples we can find from Jesus and Paul and others.

We put God first.

We help those in need.

Our lives reflect the fruit of the spirit–love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

(Me, I’m working on that forbearance part. What about you?)

We practice the spiritual disciplines–study, prayer, meditation, living simply, quiet, celebration, worship, and the rest.

 

Change Your Direction

April 1, 2016

According to Matthew, Jesus appeared publicly in his new role first to be baptized and then to seek solitude in the wilderness where he was tempted (OK, that wasn’t public). Then, Matthew says (4:17), “From that time Jesus began to proclaim ‘Repent for the Kingdom of God has come near.’ ”

To American, and probably British ears, the word “repent” may conjure images that are really far from the actual meaning of the word. I picture the hate-filled preacher with the black suit and hat and black beard in the movie version of “Paint Your Wagon”. You may have a similar image come to mind of an accuser pointing a finger and shouting “repent or go to hell.” And you get the idea that they’d rather see you roast.

I’m sorry the word has been so misused.

It really just means to change direction. Jesus was inviting people into a new way of doing life. Just like his cousin John (the Baptist).

Think about Jesus’ entire ministry. He made pointed comments to those who thought they were right with God but who were deluding themselves. John (the Evangelist) loves to point those out.

Jesus really used the word as an invitation. There was no accusation. No condemning to Hell.

He was saying, follow me and walk into a new life. Now. And forever. And we still can.

I’m Wrong And I’m Sorry

September 22, 2014

Five words that every leader show know and use. Indeed, five words for us all to use appropriately.

“I’m wrong, and I’m sorry.”

When is the last time you heard a leader, especially a political leader or a church leader or leader of a large organization, say that publicly?

They almost always say, “I made a mistake.” And that’s it.

Sorry should always imply a repentance. An acknowledgement that I was going down the wrong path, that I see clearly that I am on the wrong path, and that I have decided to travel on the right path.

I have read in developmental psychology, but I can’t remember everything I’ve read. I do know children for whom the phrase “I’m sorry” has no meaning except maybe “Please don’t punish me.”

It is true that words can be used with no emotion behind them. So, we, the ones who have been offended, have only to wait and see if there was true repentance and change of heart, or if it was merely a use of words because the PR people said you’d better use them.

Last Friday I happened to be by a TV when the commissioner of the National Football League, or the National Felons League as a friend of mine puts it, finally had to face the public music.

Suddenly the cover over the actions of the athletes who participate in a sport made increasingly violent by people like the Commissioner was blown by one, then many, stories about domestic violence. The Commissioner initially made a pathetic statement that entirely missed the target. Then he went into hiding.

Friday, he came out to say something. He began, “I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” His media relations people learned the lesson of appropriate language. Now we’ll see if he has truly repented.

But how about us? How often do we use the words to get ourselves out of a jam? How often do we repent, ask God for help, and try again to get on the path of walking with Jesus? These are important questions to reflect upon daily.