Lent – “Repentance”

What is repentance?

  • Comes from Hebrew word teshuvah (pronounced chu-va), which means “turning” or “returning”—returning to God, to one’s starting place, to one’s center and core identity
  • Comes from Greek word metanoia (meta: change, noia: mind): means a changed mind, changed perspective

Repentance involves two things: 1) returning to God, who tells us the truth about who we are—both that we are unconditionally loved and that we are human and imperfect AND 2) turning to God’s power and grace to help bring change and transformation to our lives. Repentance doesn’t let us stay stuck!

A quote by Barbara Brown Taylor: “Forgiveness is a starting place, not a stopping place. It is God’s gift to those who wish to begin again, but where we go with it is up to us. Most of us prefer remorse to repentance. We would rather feel badly about the damage we have done than get estimates on the cost of repair. We would rather learn to live with guilt than face the hard work of new life.”

Questions to reflect on:

  • Of what is God calling you to repent? Where do you see the power of sin at work in you, in your relationships, in our world? Take some time to write your confessions down or to name them aloud to God in prayer.
  • What keeps you from being honest about the power of sin in your life? Pride? Fear? Shame? For as uncomfortable as it can be, can you think of a time when you also experienced the freedom that comes with being honest about your transgressions?
  • Think of a time when your mind was changed—about yourself, someone else, a political issue, or even God. How was it for you to have your mind changed? Are you continually open to the ways God will change your mind about something?
  • We often think of repentance as a 180-degree turn, where we literally “turn around” and walk in a completely different direction. But repentance could also involve a turn of 1 or 2 degrees; even one degree of change sends us walking in an entirely different direction. Isn’t that a liberating thought? What 1 or 2 degree change could you make in your life that would draw you closer to your most authentic self?

Why do we resist the new life God offers us? Where is God trying to bring new life into your midst? How might you embrace it?