What exactly does it mean to repent? In researching the word, I have found several definitions.
Repent - an honest, regretful acknowledgement of sin with commitment to change. (Bible Study Tools)
Repent - to turn from evil, and to turn to the good (Bible Study Tools )
Repent - to feel regret or contrition (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary )
You probably get the idea. The depth of an apology lies within the repentance factor. Do I feel deep remorse for what I have done or am I only saying “I’m sorry” to keep peace? Am I willing to stop the action (or reaction) and not repeat it again? That is turning away from evil (or wrong) and turning to good (doing what is right).
I should not only act with repentance to people I have harmed, but especially when I have hurt God. As we discussed last week, my actions or reactions to God’s people can hurt Him as well. Recognizing when I have done or said something I shouldn’t is only part of making amends. I must seek forgiveness and repent of where I have fallen short.
In the Book of Acts, the Apostle Luke is writing to Theophilus. Although, unclear if this is an actual person or if it is addressing Christian’s as a whole, the purpose of writing the letter is to edify the church. Luke wants the reader to understand the purpose of the Holy Spirit and the reason God sent the Holy Spirit to His people. He wanted to prove that Christianity was not a threat to the Roman Empire.
Just as all the words of the Bible, Acts 3:19, gives instruction to us that is relevant today.
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Times of refreshing. I want to sit here for a moment and really soak in what Luke is saying. I feel God is speaking to His children through this scripture. Specifically, that in order to receive the full presence of God, I must be able to turn away from where I fall short (sin) and return to what is right (to God). How deep is that? Isn’t God amazing in His ways? He is powerful in the way He teaches us through Scripture, but gentle in the delivery.
As I continue to prepare to make my amends as Step 9 says to do, I need to remember that saying “I’m sorry” is not where it ends. It’s much more than simply an apology and moving on. It is turning away from the negative behavior and turning toward the way Jesus would be.
Take me to the next post in the series.
Think About It:
How often do you say “I’m sorry”, but have to go back and say it again for the same things?
Before today, what was your definition of the word “repent”?
Starting today, count the number of times you say “I’m sorry”. After a week, sit down and examine the circumstances surrounding the apology. Ask yourself these questions:
Did I really mean it or was it a surface apology?
Why did I say it?
Did I turn away from the behavior or have I repeated the action again since?
Journal About it:
Follow along in the My Journey Journal© (subscriber password required) and write about how the questions and scriptures today resonated with you. As you write, thank Him for showing you the way in your journey.
Pray About it:
As you think and write, say this prayer with me.
I praise you for helping me to discover the true meaning of repentance. I confess I fall short in this area and need Your help to lead me toward real repentance as I prepare to make amends to You and others. Thank you for loving me so much to teach me the right way to be.
In Jesus' name,
Talk About it:
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