“yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” -II Cor 7:9-10
The Lexham Bible Dictionary says “repentance refers to an event in which an individual attains a divinely provided new understanding of their behavior and feels compelled to change that behavior and begin a new relationship with God.”
Another prevalent definition of the word repent is “to turn away from, or do a complete 180 in the opposite direction from the way you were previously heading.”
Repent is a term most often associated with morality and a person’s choices in relation to their actions, and how they impact others in their actions and behaviors.
It is certainly not a popular word in contemporary culture. Instead it’s tossed aside as an leftover obsolete term from antiquity. Perhaps this was the case in previous generations as well.
No one likes others’ meddling and telling them what to do or not do; especially when it impacts your daily preferences and choices. It’s a popular to think that “each person should be able to determine right or wrong for themselves. After all, how I feel is what really matters.”
From before we walked as children, we believed that the universe existed to serve our pleasures and wants no matter how they impact others. We may not come out and say it, yet subconsciously this conviction is evidenced in a persons behaviors.
“The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.” -Matt 12:41
History reveals that this is a faulty and destructive pathway for us, others and society at large.
We will go to doctors because doctors are trained to understand the human body and disease better than us.
We will try to abide by traffic lights at intersections because we understand that they were put there to protect us from oncoming traffic; not just to inhibit our happiness.
We will exercise and try to eat healthy foods and get proper rest because we’ve been taught that these practices will help us live a happier and perhaps longer life.
What if God not only designed science with laws that help our flourishing, but He also designed morality for our benefit and that of those around us? What if His love is why He calls us to repentance? The Bible is not aimed at inhibiting our joy; but to give us guidance for experiencing “the abundant life.”
God calls us to turn to Him, away from our self-destructive practices and away from anything we lean on instead of Him as an idol or self created god. They are frail, fleeting, and unreliable gods that will ultimately fail us. This is even true if the one we make into god is ourselves.
Our heavenly Father wants to give us the good life. He is not a killjoy. Repentance leads to life.
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” Acts 3:1