The word repent has been much aligned because of the way people have used it to condemn others or elevate themselves. The word repent seems like such an archaic term today; “Repent or be destroyed!” However, I think it’s actually a great word. It’s like a second chance and we all need those don’t we.

Repent by definition is to stop doing one thing and do another. It is seeing the error of your ways and choosing another way. As followers of Jesus Christ, we make the decision to submit our life to Him so He can remove all of our sin and enable us to love and obey GOD with all our heart, mind and soul.

The GOD of the Bible is not a mean angry GOD waiting for us to mess up so he can hit us with leprosy. Instead He is a patient GOD who wants that everyone would obey Him so He can pour out His love on us. The story of Jonah in the Bible shows this truth. Take a few minutes to read it, it’s only four chapters long, and then you can brag that you read an entire book of the Bible today!

“I knew you are a merciful and compassionate GOD, slow to anger and filled with Unfailing Love.”

Repentance and Mercy

In the book of Jonah in the Bible, GOD tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and let them know GOD is going to destroy them because of how wicked they are. Most of us know the part about Jonah being swallowed by a big fish so I’ll skip that and get to the repentance part.

When Jonah finally gets to Nineveh he tells the people in the city that in “40 days the city will be destroyed.” He doesn’t call them to repent he just tells them they are all toast! When the King hears this, he changes into burlap and sits in ashes to show how miserable he is. He obviously sees the need for a change.

Then the King commands the entire city and even their animals to fast and wear garments of mourning. He directs them to turn from their evil and violent lifestyle in hope that GOD will “change his mind” and not destroy them. And that’s exactly what GOD does! He spares all 120,000 of them from utter destruction. Repentance worked then and it still works today.

Repent sounds like a harsh word but not as harsh as the consequences of not repenting.

The Bible teaches us the GOD created this planet and everything on it for his purpose – to glorify his name (who else who it be for). Mankind has sinned and walked away from loving and obeying GOD and that is wrong.

GOD will judge each of us for the lives we live and decisions we make. The good news is that there is still time to change your life (to repent) and go in another direction. We have a free will to choose GOD and come to Him just as we are today. He will see a truly repentant heart and take away the punishment we all deserve for not living up to the standards of GOD. Repentance.

If it seems too harsh to tell people they need to repent, considering other words like seek and follow GOD with all your heart, soul and mind, or whatever words you want just don’t water-down the truth. If we let people continue down a path of disobeying or ignoring GOD, they will miss the opportunity to personally know GOD and His love during this life and then for all eternity. 

I think suggesting they repent seems like a kinder way to live.

Robert Hunt