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  • TeMah LoraLee

What Is Repentance? (Y1.T1.D27)

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

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As a teenager, I made friends wherever I could find them. The summer before my junior year, my parents went to Mexico, leaving their car keys to their unlicensed daughter—me—in case of an emergency.

That weekend, a couple of popular girls I barely knew asked me to take them to the mall. I was excited the cool kids wanted to hang out so I drove them to the wealthy side of town.

In the 1980s, stores had multiple entrances—one from the inner courtyard and the other to the parking lot. This was also before clothing had sensors to prevent shoplifting—which I quickly discovered was what we were there to do.

The two sisters attempted to show me how to slip shirts, dresses, and jeans from a hanger into a bag. I was terrified. I couldn’t do it. They took me outside to the parking lot.

“No problem,” one sister smiled at me, “you keep the clerk distracted, we’ll do the rest.”

Desperately wanting their approval, I became a thief.

We went to several different stores taking clothes and accessories. In less than an hour, we had a pile of stolen merchandise stacked high in the back seat of my parent’s Ford LTD. We sorted the loot at my house.

After the sisters left, my bed had a pile of clothing the sisters didn’t want, most of which weren't even my size. I felt sick. Not only had I shoplifted, I’d done it in my parent’s car and sorted the cache in my parent’s living room. The two people who’d trusted me to be responsible while they were gone.

Guilt nagged at me, so I avoided the girls. I didn't actually repent until years later.

Repentance isn't a feeling of disappointment or regret. It's not even choosing to avoid a particular group of people. Repentance happens when the desire to sin is reversed into a desire to obey.

My life didn’t change direction until I reached rock bottom and like Peter cried out, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8).

Repentance is life-changing and direction-shifting. It happened for me when I permanently chose Jesus' company over the approval of the cool kids. I still made mistakes, but with the aid of the Holy Spirit, my new life contained the conviction to walk away from people who find excitement in breaking the law.

Forgiveness Is Available

1 Now while the multitude pressed on him and heard the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. 2 He saw two boats standing by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 He entered into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered him, “Master, we worked all night, and took nothing; but at your word I will let down the net.” 6 When they had done this, they caught a great multitude of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 They beckoned to their partners in the other boat, that they should come and help them. They came, and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord.” 9 For he was amazed, and all who were with him, at the catch of fish which they had caught; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. (Luke 5:1–10a)

Matthew 4:18, Mark 1:16

Matthew 4:19, Luke 5:10b, Mark 1:17

Matthew 4:20–21, Mark 1:18–19

Matthew 4:22, Luke 5:11, Mark 1:20

8 My son, listen to your father’s instruction,

and don’t forsake your mother’s teaching:

9 for they will be a garland to grace your head,

and chains around your neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice you,

don’t consent.

11 If they say, “Come with us.

Let’s lie in wait for blood.

Let’s lurk secretly for the innocent without cause.

12 Let’s swallow them up alive like Sheol,

and whole, like those who go down into the pit.

13 We’ll find all valuable wealth.

We’ll fill our houses with plunder.

14 You shall cast your lot among us.

We’ll all have one purse.”

15 My son, don’t walk on the path with them.

Keep your foot from their path,

16 for their feet run to evil.

They hurry to shed blood.

17 For the net is spread in vain in the sight of any bird;

18 but these lay in wait for their own blood.

They lurk secretly for their own lives.

19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain.

It takes away the life of its owners. (Proverbs 1:8–19)

1 Don’t boast about tomorrow;

for you don’t know what a day may bring.

2 Let another man praise you,

and not your own mouth;

a stranger, and not your own lips.

3 A stone is heavy,

and sand is a burden;

but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.

4 Wrath is cruel,

and anger is overwhelming;

but who is able to stand before jealousy?

5 Better is open rebuke

than hidden love.

6 The wounds of a friend are faithful,

although the kisses of an enemy are profuse. (Proverbs 27:1–6)

Meditation Moment

Dear God,

Have mercy on me based on Your kindness, not my many transgressions (Psalm 51:1). I no longer desire the approval of people making wicked decisions. You are the best and most important friend I could ever have. Help me seek You while You are available so I can forsake my wicked ways. I know You will pardon my crimes (Isaiah 55:6–7). You will love me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). I choose to love You in return.


Meditation Music Link


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