Jesus cried out, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
A couple of years ago I posted on Facebook a question about the Greek word translated “repentance.” (It’s metanoia and its variants.)
Yes, I admit, it took me a long time to get back to all the links and ideas people sent me, but here I am again, studying repentance.
It’s because three things happened at about the same time. First, I was praying for pastors and other Christian leaders (the ones who have treated and counseled sexual abuse survivors as if they were pariahs) to repent about their wrongdoing.
Second, I’ve been praying for revival for a long time, and in the context of that, having a discussion with a Christian leader about whether or not repentance is necessary for salvation.
Third, I’ve been studying II Corinthians, where Paul talks about repentance in chapter 7.
I always used to hear repentance being taught as a change of mind. That very sterile, academic definition vaguely dissatisfied me. It seemed to accompany the academic, intellectual acceptance of Christ embodied in the “sinner’s prayer.”
But as I’ve been thinking and praying about the concept this past week, I’ve better understood why that definition is a problem. You know the (sexist) saying from our culture, “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind”? In this statement, it’s understood that the change of mind is completely capricious. “I think I’ll buy this frilly pink dress. No, I’m going to return this one and get that slim black one instead.”
Repentance is technically a change of mind from one choice to another, yes. But not capricious, and not between two things of roughly equal value.
This article has now been incorporated into the book Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book 4 Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, and Righteousness. You can find that book here.
Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.