Matthew 3 (NIV)
3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Repentance is a heavy word for the person who hasn’t seen the end of their ways. It is a word one wants to avoid because it means you are going in the wrong direction and who wants to admit that? However, people who want to live a meaningful life have to eventually develop the capacity to look at what they are doing which often lead to the troubles they experience as a result of wrong headed or hearted living.
For each of us repentance is seeing that “I am the problem.” But what is new? Most of us are well aware of our weaknesses. It is just that we are always trying to change or fretting about other people’s behavior. Until we are ready to take full responsibility for our own actions we are not transformed. Putting things on others only prolongs our development and limits our ability to find personal fulfillment in the moment.
By the way, repentance is just turning our wills and hearts around from the direction in which we were going. It is making one’s self available to the grace and help of God. It is not groveling as many suppose. Furthermore, guilt is not a Christian virtue. It is the thing from which Christ liberated us. It is the only real way to change in our circumstances because we have no power over what others think or do.
“We are not able to love unless we can see ourselves as flawed first. That is because we will dislike anyone in whom we see fault and exalt our own character above theirs. It is only when we see our own flaws that we can find love as God’s gift of grace and give it to others. Those who have been forgiven much have found love and those who have been forgiven much will love unconditionally.” Ben Peeler