Sunday, December 7, 2014

Repentance - 8th Day of Advent

Today's word, to my way of thinking, is related to yesterday's journey. Repentance is a part of a journey.

Jesus was eating with the "undesirables" of society and the Pharisees questioned him.  His response was in Mark 2:17:  When Jesus heard it, He said unto them, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

I recently read a short story that had a line that stayed with me:  "No one knows better the true value of virtue without being acquainted, at least once, with vice."

Repentance is a journey, because it requires change.  Change in attitude, change in behavior, change in how you proceed forward in life.  There's a great article on the 5 Steps of Repentance that talks about how Psalm 32 has the answer to, how do I repent?  The 5 steps are:

  1. Be honest about your need for repentance.
  2. Acknowledge the danger of sin and the damage of guilt.
  3. Fully confess your sin.
  4. Hide in God
  5. Seize the hope.
None of us are perfect - we follow the One who was.  We all have habits, directions, choices that we make and take that we are well aware are sins.  The thing about repentance is that you have to be willing to make a change - to cease doing the sin - for repentance to be real.  Each week, we participate in a congregational confession of sin, a very generalized record that can fit every need - but I would challenge you to be more specific in your heart and mind.  When you confess your sins, be honest and make a decision on whether you're merely confessing, or if you're repenting also.  The latter will require more action on your part.

Activity for the Day:  Today, we light the second candle in the Advent wreath for Joy.  Your task today is to smile at everyone you meet and brighten their day with the joy that shines from your own heart!

And because today's Reflection is completely awesome, and talks about repentance in a concrete manner, I thought I'd share it too.

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