Repentance leads to renewal

Repentance leads to renewal

By REV. DR. RICHAR... | 5 March, 2016
The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to repent (Mark 1:15). This repentance implies willingly placing ourselves under the light of God’s word. As we read God’s word, we are hit with God’s gracious love and forgiveness. His light exposes our darkened understanding and separation from the life of God (Eph. 4:18). God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Our sorrow turns to joy as we accept Christ’s gracious offer of forgiveness and commit ourselves to serving the “living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). 
As a consequence of repentance, now, in humility we reach out to others, asking for forgiveness and making amends for all the wrong we have done. The positive and creative turning toward the source of life and renewal in God enables us to turn outward. A heart of stone becomes a heart of flesh, and every emotion, thought, and feeling changes. God is at the center of a repentant heart; God who was revealed at the cross as justice and holy love. Therefore, submission to this God of reconciliation, directs us to build positive relationships in our lives.
Repentance is the route to a renewed life in Christ. Jesus used the example of Nineveh. This city was self-destructing as a result of oppression and dishonor, violence and injustice. Yet, the entire city was spared destruction because after hearing Jonah preach they through corporate repentance and spiritual renewal (Luke 11:32).
As such, repentance is not a once and for all act of renouncing the wayward life. Rather, it is a continuing process of choosing to focus on God and others. John warned those who came out to be baptized, saying, “Bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8). Our lives must reflect our repentant heart on a daily basis. As members of God’s family (John 1:12), it is our responsibility to shift our conduct from self-serving to self-giving.

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No theologian, priest, or thinker, or artist, or academic, claiming to be C hristian, has asked, or militated, for some sort of restitution to those who got exploited as slaves, or colonial subjects. What is the meaning of repentance in circumstances of such colossal injustices? And, if there had been any kind of repentance, why has it not been translated into concrete measures? The Jews were not satisfied with repentance as a political show by certain German or other Leaders. They insisted upon and did get due reparations for the sufferings of the Holocaust. Cardinall Spellman wore the uniform of a Marine when he visited the troops in Vietnam in the 1960s. But what was the role or the effect of repentance for so much destruction of a small colonized country which did not receive a single dollar as reparation for the enormous ravaging of a country which had not invaded neither France or nor America. The American Catholic Church and the Vatican contributed money to the CIA in order to overthrow the duly, legally, morally elected Salvador Allende government. Later when President Bachelet of Chila voted to allocate compensatory funds to the families in which members had disappeared during the Pinochet regime, I wrote to the Pope asking if the Vatican too, for moral compensation for its contribution to the installation of the intolerant Chilean Fascism, was contributing funds to the victimised families. I got no reply. No British administrator ever felt the need for repentance for the politics of generating man-made famines in India. In fact in many strategic locations where the Raj had set up its military centres for the control of the country, the churches of the different Christian denominations were built around the cantonment. Most likely to provide ease for a hasty repentance. After what was the need for repentance when the exploiting, the looting, the shaming, the humiliating, the famishing on a grand scale, were carried out in the name of Christian civilisation, by a men and women serving the Defender of the Faith.

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