Sadly anymore, too many people think that repentance is for suckers. They believe that saying your sorry and turning over a new leaf in life shows that you are weak somehow. Admitting your faults does indeed involve being honest about your faults, but far too many people think that the work of changing for the better is somehow beneath them. While they would probably not go so far as to say they are perfect, they would also say they are not in dire need of improvement because to do so would mean that they have much in them that is wrong and needs correcting.
As Christians, we are commanded to repent. Our ritual of practicing confession and forgiveness requires that we confess our sins before we are forgiven of them. Jesus often told people he healed to “Go now, sin no more,” with the expectation that they would live a repentant life after having encountered the incarnate God on earth. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the worst sins are not often described as people being uniquely evil or imperfect, but rather that they are uniquely unrepentant for the sins that they contribute to the milieu of human misdeeds. Repentance is central to the Christian life.
Entering 2023, I invite you to think of new ways that you might be repentant this year. Do you have a bad attitude towards others or toxic traits to your personality that you need to work on? I invite you to turn away from them and turn towards loving others in new ways. Are you distrustful of God’s role and place in your life? Turn away from your distrust and place your faith in God’s direction for your life in 2023. Do you have harmful habits like eating or drinking too much, overworking at the neglect of your personal life, not prioritizing family relationships like you should, or the myriad of other sinful habits that we are inclined to fall into human beings? I encourage you to make a change. Walk away from the sins that have held you down and step into the Way of God – the Way of repentance.