These Preachers Have Hijacked a Perfectly Good Word
Some preachers use this word to manipulate you. That misses the point.
REPENT! REPENT! REPENT!
Back in the days of my boyhood, hand-painted signs with that word printed in triplet littered the roadsides in North Louisiana. I never did like them very much for two reasons.
For one thing, I knew that in order for me to repent, I would need to make some changes, and I sure wasn’t ready for that. And secondly, all I could think of every time I saw one of those signs was the sweaty preacher foaming at the mouth yelling out “REPENT” at the top of his lungs. At the time, I considered it a show of judgment as if he was exercising power. You know, like he enjoyed making people squirm in the pews.
Thinking back on it, I’m not sure whether or not I was right about the preacher. I have a much different opinion of the word repent now. I guess that’s a sign that God’s been working on me for a long time.
The word repent simply means to change one’s mind or purpose. So, when the Bible uses the word, it has no negative meaning to it at all. In fact, repentance (or changing one’s mind on purpose) is the prerequisite for spiritual blessings.
For example, when Peter and John were approaching the Jewish temple in Acts chapter three, they encountered a crippled beggar sitting by the entrance. After healing him, Peter used the opportunity to preach Jesus to the crowd that had witnessed the miracle. At the end of his sermon, he said:
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus…”
Do you see anything negative in the words of Peter? I can’t help it if some preachers have hijacked a perfectly good word from the scriptures and used it to manipulate their audiences.
There is nothing to see here except incredibly good news. When you hear the gospel and repent (change direction), you get three invaluable blessings:
(1) You get freedom from your sins.
(2) You get times of refreshing from Jesus.
(3) You get Jesus.
Three deals in one, just for changing the direction you were going in (away from the Evil One) and turning to Christ. I call that a pretty good deal. How about you?
I’m encouraging anyone who listens to Unashamed or reads this newsletter to repent, to change directions. I don’t know about you, but I tend to take a few wrong turns along the way, so I’ve made it my habit to repent daily. Sometimes, multiple times every day.
I’m encouraging you to do the same because I have a burning desire for others to know the best friend I ever had – Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Son of God.
Repent — it’s not a bad word. Not at all. In fact, it’s liberating. Try it! You might like it.
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Image credit: Marcus O. Bst | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0