From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” – Matthew 4:17 (NIV)
Unfortunately, the word “REPENT” has been a bit… tainted.
For some, the only time they hear the word “repent” is when someone on a street corner is angrily yelling about how everyone’s going to hell in a hand basket… unless they repent.
The word repent is less toxic than it appears. (Of course the toxicity might only be my perception).
The Hebrew word for repent is T’shuva and it simply means to “return.”
The Greek word is metanoia which means “to change one’s mind.”
The message of “Hey, you were meant for something more so why not return to the life you were intended to live?” resonates more to me than “repent, otherwise you’re going to hell.”
If you use fear to lure someone into a relationship, you’ll have to keep them afraid to maintain that relationship. (Much like a church entertaining someone into the pews, you’ll have to keep them entertained so that they stay).
Which is literally the antithesis of Jesus — who consistently says “Do not fear…”
So the act of repentance is simply turning towards (or returning to) Jesus.
Here’s the crucial part though: when you turn towards Jesus, you’re also turning away from something else.
In returning to the life God intended for us, we’re leaving the mess that we’ve created for ourselves.
You can’t have it both ways.
But, oh, how we all try.
While the majority of us can’t moonwalk like the fella in the video above — we’ve all become good at the spiritual moonwalk.
We turn to Jesus, yes. But instead of moving towards Jesus, we move further away.
That’s when we live out the words of Isaiah that Jesus quoted:
He replied, “Isaiah really knew what he was talking about when he prophesied about you hypocrites. He wrote,Mark 7:6-9
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far away from me.
Their worship of me is empty
since they teach instructions that are human words.
You ignore God’s commandment while holding on to rules created by humans and handed down to you.” Jesus continued, “Clearly, you are experts at rejecting God’s commandment in order to establish these rules.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’d probably see that we moonwalk through our faith more than we’d care to admit. And that it’s easier to call out others who do it rather than focus on our moonwalking tendencies.
Jesus seemingly categorized people into 2 groups: those who know they are sinners and those who know others are sinners.
Moonwalking as a dance is really cool (seriously, watch the video above!)
Moonwalking through faith, not so much.
May we turn to Jesus and continue to move towards Jesus by doing justice; loving mercy; and hustling humbly with God.
Please don’t mind the grammatical errors. Hopefully you knew what I meant.
and English is my second language..