READ: Matthew 3:1-12; 4:12-17
- The term repentance carries a basic idea of turning from or turning to. It is sometimes translated as: be sorry, regret or rue; sometimes as repent, be converted; and sometimes as change your mind or turn around. Its roots in the Old Testament convey the idea of returning or going back to where you started.
- It’s not necessarily a harsh term. But, it could sound harsh if uttered in a moment of crisis or urgency. It might sound like the voice of an anxious parent shouting to a child to stop moving toward the street. It could also sound like a winsome parent encouraging a child to come back to their side. Because of the common caricatures of angry preachers shouting at sinners, it sometimes carries a negative connotation.
- When we see the word in Scripture, hearing it from the lips of Jesus, we should always recognize a positive motive. Even when Jesus says there can be judgment without repentance, the repentance is the winsome side of God calling us to safety and protection from the harshness of judgment. So, repent implies recognizing that we’re headed in the wrong way and turning around to come back to a safe place.
- What is your perception of repentance? Harsh? Redemptive? Kind?
- How have you heard repentance preached in the past?
- Read Micah 4:6-13. Note how the harsh reality is couched in terms of what God really wanted to happen—for Israel to return to Him.
PRAY: Pray that you can hear God’s redemptive pleading. Ask God to help us make His plea inviting and appealing. Commit to making your calls to repentance as encouraging as possible.