When we truly comprehend our own nature, repentance is no dry doctrine, no frightening message, no morbid form of self-flagellation. It is, as the early church fathers said, a gift God grants which leads to life. It is the key to the door of liberation, to the only real freedom we can ever know.This is true because repentance means turning back from a wrong path to the right one, and when we understand truly how wrong the path is that we're on, the opportunity to turn back is a gift of unspeakable value. For the person driving down a road in a downpour, the sign saying "bridge out ahead - turn around!" may trigger disappointment because it is now clear that the destination is unreachable, but it also triggers relief, because the impending catastrophe ahead was avoided. So it is that when God says to us "repent!" he gives us both a sign that the path we are on in our lives leads to disaster and a promise that the disaster is not inevitable, that we have an opportunity to turn around, to follow instead a safe path that leads to life and joy and peace. This is what Jesus offers, which is why the first message the early church had for the world was "repent!"
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Charles Colson, in his book Loving God said