To be honest, I can’t wrap my brain around the word “repentance.” Is it an action? A state of mind? Something else entirely?? So, I turn to good old Merriam-Webster. First off, “repent” means “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.” Looking at “repentance,” it is “the action or process of repenting, especially for misdeeds or moral shortcomings.” This then leads me to a webpage on Catholicism and confession, which tells me that Catholics must repent and be truly sorry for their sins (i.e. plan to amend their life) before they can confess. Pretty heavy stuff, but I think I’m starting to get it.
I feel very fortunate that most of the people in my life are good at repenting. My family can be a challenge (!!), but we eventually work through it. When I have encountered people who are not good at repenting, it is usually at work. For a while, I had to endure a younger woman as my direct report. She had been at the job prior to my arrival and was promoted by my predecessor. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the job was too much for her. She consistently made mistakes (some of them fairly large), did not receive constructive criticism well, and always had an excuse for why it wasn’t her fault. She never apologized. Not once. How was she to learn from her mistakes if she never admitted she had made them? At the time, I was furious with her, but looking back now, I feel sorry for her. She was putting limitations on herself that kept her from growing, both personally and professionally.
This Lent season, let’s think about how much we can gain by repenting, and take it one step at a time.
Friends and members of our Christ Church family have prepared these daily reflections as a means for you to consider how forgiveness informs your faith walk during this holy season. They are a richly diverse group from many different geographies around our nation and globe, formed by a wide variety of traditions.