Have you ever had a bad habit? Did you beat it? Have you ever gotten out of a terrible relationship? Have you ever started eating better? If you have, then you know that incredible feeling of making positive changes. But, it is not so much about being free, having better friends, or losing weight. That incredible feeling comes from taking charge, making a decision for your good, and, feeling better about yourself.You may not realize it, but every time you make one of those great choices, you are repenting. I know. It sounds a little bit odd, but I want to think about repentance differently for a minute. The Cambridge Dictionary defines “repent” and “repentance” this way,
“I sleep with animals. I feel so terrible,” she said.
“You sleep with animals?” is all I could stutter in response.
“You just taught that we should not sleep with animals. You said it was a sin. I never realized that. I am so embarrassed. I sleep with my cat every night.”
I tried not to laugh as I responded, “You mean like the cat sleeps in the bed with you. Like at the foot of the bed or whatever?”
“Yes. I am …” she stuttered.
“Wait. You are okay. The verse I referenced was talking about SLEEPING with animals. Like having sex with them.”
“Oh! I have never done that!” she exclaimed.
“Okay. Then you are good.”
She headed off, happy towards the doors. I laughed and made a mental note to be more explicit in my language. Leviticus 18:23 is one of my favorite verses to illustrate how easy it is to follow God. It reads,
There was no luxury of physical therapy or rehab when I broke my back. I had no money and no insurance. A life of pain lay ahead of me when I finally got out the bed six months later. It is amazing what you can learn to deal with and work through.
I thought I was listening until my son’s friend said, “You’re not listening to me.” She was right. She wanted me to hear her story, her pain, and her trouble. I was playing junior therapist. So I stopped, put down my fork, and listened. I listened as she told us how her dad was not encouraging her, how he was different when no one was around, and how he did not understand. I listened until she stopped, but it was hard work for me. I wanted to ask the obvious things like, “Are you sure you are being fair?” and “Do you think you contribute to the problem?” It was even more difficult when silence took over, but I am glad I kept quiet.