21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
What is repentance? I often hear repentance described as turning away from sin and it certainly may involve doing that. But “repent” means to change one’s mind. Repentance, then, is about a fundamental change in the way we think about our lives – our purpose, focus, and behavior.
The process of repentance may culminate in the behavior of “turning from sin,” from specific behaviors. Repentance may also involve regret or sorrow over having chosen to live our lives in the dark, away from God.
But, like a person who needs eyeglasses to see clearly, the point of repentance is not to make us ashamed us what we couldn’t see. The purpose of repentance is to allow us to see: to see God, to see ourselves as made in the image of God, to see ourselves as God’s beloved child and to see others as God’s beloved children, and to see that we are meant for joy that we can’t imagine without God’s grace.
Have you ever noticed how joyous the laugh is of little children? Ours was like that too, before we were wounded. Before someone very special to us wounded us with their lies. “You are too loud.” “You aren’t as pretty as your sister.” “You aren’t as smart as your brother.” Or that someone wounded us with their actions to our young bodies, physical or sexual. We internalized those lies as shame and hid them deep inside our hearts. God does not want that for us.
God wants us to repent, to turn away from those lies, and to turn to Him for the truth. God wants us to walk into His light and be revealed to ourselves as the wonderful child He created us to be. He knew and loved us before the world was created. It’s time for us to know and love ourselves as well.
(c) 2015 Bonnie Oden