To repent is to adopt God’s viewpoint in place of your own…
In itself, far from being sorrowful, it is the most joyful thing in the world, because when you have done it you have adopted the viewpoint of truth itself and you are in fellowship with God.
—William Temple (1881-1944)
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength …” –Isaiah 30:15
Repentance is deciding that you have been wrong in supposing that you could manage your own life and be your own god;
it is deciding that you were wrong in thinking that you had, or could get, the strength, education and training to make it on your own;
it is deciding that you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and your neighbours and your world.
And it is deciding that God, in Jesus Christ, is telling you the truth.
Repentance is a realization that what God wants from you and what you want from God are not going to be achieved by doing the same old things, thinking the same old thoughts.
Repentance is a decision to follow Jesus Christ and become his pilgrim in the path of peace. —Eugene Peterson (1932- )
– We tend to run away from pain, but pain and brokenness is where we meet God. Instead of avoiding our pain, we should ask – what am I afraid of? What is hardest for me? What is the cesspool (really yucky, dirty, overwhelming stuff) in my life that I might be avoiding? Then confess, be broken, be keenly aware that you do not just struggle with a little sin or have things to work on over there somewhere – but you are caught in a big ugly cesspool and need to be broken by that.
– Christians tend to get prayer backwards. We spend a lot of time sending up spontaneous, “Lord help me with….” prayers, but not that much time in the broken, confession, “God I wish you would take this from me and I don’t know what to do but I need you,” kind of prayers. And before both of those kinds of prayers, we should be spending time adoring and worshipping God just for being God. In other words, our theology needs to be rearranged so that our faith is directed toward and first about God, not about ourselves.
– It is one thing to pray, “Lord, help that family that is struggling financially;” it is a different prayer, a truly missional prayer, to say, “Lord, help me to help that family that is struggling financially.”
– challenging thoughts inspired by Chris Bruno and Bill Sheroes
“ I always encourage people to, ‘when in doubt, risk on the side of love’.I would rather have us cleaning up the odd mess on the ground because we loved naively than to have to explain in heaven why for caution’s sake, we neglected ‘one of the least of these’.”
– quote from a staff member at Compasio, a ministry working with at-risk women and girls in Thailand
This Sunday is(was) International Women’s Day – so I learned through an emailed blog entry on the topic. While I am not ‘synchro-blogging’ on a biblical woman, I thought it was fitting that I pass along this quote from an organization that works with some of the most vulnerable women and girls in their country. I tend to be particularly bothered by young girls and women who are exploited and used up by injustices around the world. I knew as soon as they introduced a young girl into the cast of the oscar-winning movie “Slum Dog Millionaire,” that her particular exploitation as a female orphan in the slums of India would be painful to witness. And I am reminded again today, while learning about Compasio and all that they do for young girls being pressured into prostitution by their own families and orphans/widows harmed and left to fend for themselves, that women often face particularly ugly injustice and harm.
In the face of overwhelming needs, unfair systems that keep women and children from just living choices, and unresponsiveness from Westerners like me who do not have to face these realities each day, I am sometimes tempted to withdraw or over-analyze – which is why I particularly liked this quote. Because in the end, Love Wins. Even in the face of the sadness, pain, anger and statistics – I am comforted that God pays special attention to the widow, orphan and sojourner in a strange land – and that we are told to also pay attention to those most vulnerable in our world.
Women are our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. They are known to us in warm embraces and by strong words, in wisdom through the ages and by beauty captured from around the globe. Remind us to pay special attention to those women and girls who are not protected, honored, listened to or promoted in our world – because your image is written indelibly on each woman’s heart. Help us to see that in women’s futures are held so much of the potential of our families, our nations, our communities and our churches. Release me from inaction; free me to pray, to grieve, to listen and to act – show me where I can “speak for those who have no voice, and defend the cause of the voiceless.” Amen.