We’re catching up a bit on blog posts from Fr. Mike. Today is the 2nd in a series about repentance during this Lenten season. Are you focused on who you can become? Let’s read Fr. Mike’s thoughts about the heart of repentance.
Repentance – 2
My thoughts today follow those in posted on the blog February 21. (Click here for that post.)
Yes, at times we all do some things that are wrong. These are sins of commission. And at times we fail to do some good things that we should have done. These are sins of omission.
It is important to be aware of these things and to recognize them as sins. But, it is also important that we don’t stay mired in the mud of our sinfulness. We continue to be God’s beloved son or daughter, in need of growth, yes, but not unloved or disowned by God. Grounded in this love that God has for us, we can move forward.
So, in our repentance, it is important not just to look back, but to look ahead. It is important not to be stuck in guilt and negative self-talk, but to see ourselves as human, human beings still on the journey with Christ. Jesus calls us to look not just at what we did, but at what we can now do. He calls us to look not just at who we have been, but at who we can become. And, of course, in doing this, we are to be centered on Him, the One in whose likeness we are to grow.
This, I find, is a much healthier approach to repentance and spirituality in general. It is an approach that is much more faithful to the change of mind and heart and the transformation that is the heart of repentance in the gospels.
One author puts it this way:
“Repentance…is to look, not backward with regret, but forward with hope – not downwards at our own shortcomings, but upwards at God’s love. It is to see, not what we have failed to be, but what by divine grace we can now become; it is to act upon what we see.”
~Father Michael Schleupner
*Quotation above from: The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware.