Monday, November 16, 2009

The Process of Transformation Part 3 - A Fresh Definition of Repentence

Transformation: change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
By definition, transformation requires change. A caterpillar changes into a butterfly or moth, a tadpole changes into a frog and so on. Change requires that something stops being one thing (a tadpole) or going in one direction (towards being a thief) and becomes another thing (a frog) or goes in another direction (becomes honest). When one changes direction, one repents. Here is one definition of repentance:
Repentance is a change of thought and action to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged.
For many people, repentance is a bad word, something to be avoided. The truth is, repentance is something we do all the time. When we make a wrong turn and correct that turn, we repent. When we make a statement that we didn't come out right and we correct it, we repent. When we move from smoking cigarettes to not smoking cigarettes, we repent. Repentance is actually a very good word and a very healthy thing to do. Of course for Christians, we think of repentance as agreeing with God that we are or were going in a wrong direction (away from God's ways) and we choose to turn and go in a direction that He knows is best. Repentance is necessary for transformation to occur. Often when one thinks of repentance it is thought of in the negative. We think I must repent and stop doing something bad or harmful and start doing something else. We put the emphasis on the negative and I think this is giving repentance a bad rap. What if we changed it? What if we started of thinking about repentance as running into the wide open loving arms of Jesus. What if when thinking of repentance we focused on the positive aspects of running to Jesus instead of thinking about guilt for our actions or how hard it is to turn from sinful but fun or selfish things in our lives? If we thought in the positive regarding repentance, would more people actually run to Jesus? I don't know but I'm beginning to train myself to think this way and to communicate it this way. Repentance certainly must include a turning away from certain things (sin) but it also includes a turning to Jesus and His life giving ways. Jesus wipes the slate clean, He delivers us from the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of His beloved Son, where we have become new creatures - the old is passed away and the new has come! If we start seeing repentance as a positive thing that causes us to run into the arms of Jesus, improves our relationship with Him, others and therefore our lives in general, I actually do think more people would enter the transformation process and gleefully repent. What do you think?