Repentance Isn’t About Shame

It's about learning to love others.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

Above all, the Lord wants everyone to have the peace and joy of heaven. Everything He does leads us away from despair and toward true goodness, which we experience as happiness. Repentance is the process by which we choose to receive this blessing from the Lord. The word “repentance” might conjure up feelings of shame or brokenness, or it might make us wonder if following God’s rules requires us to condemn ourselves. Others believe repentance is as simple as feeling bad and saying we're sorry. But the Lord doesn’t want us to have self contempt or make performative confessions. Instead, He offers the opportunity to transform our habits and, ultimately, our very motivations through the steps of repentance.

Repentance begins with examining our lives and thoughts, and focusing on one or two behaviors that harm others or ourselves. In light of this self-reflection, we resolve to break free from these sinful habits by shunning evil inclinations and false ideas. By ourselves, this might seem impossible, so asking the Lord for help is essential. The Lord works with all of us for the best possible outcome, but we can only receive His help when we invite Him to be part of the process. With our cooperation, the Lord can change our hearts and lead us to a happier, more loving life.

Many of us are already doing this work. The world is full of people serving others, considering the impact their actions have, and trying to live a good life according to their beliefs. We are in good company when we engage in the process of repentance--the company of angels in heaven and the Lord's church on earth. The process of examining our actions and working with the Lord to resist , even in small doses, our selfish instincts is the “light burden” that leads to peace, trust in the Lord, and heavenly happiness.

“After confessing our sins in this way and praying for forgiveness with a humble heart, repentance is abstaining from them and beginning a new life guided by the principles of charity and faith.” (The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 161)

Daily Inspiration

"As long as we believe that everything good comes from the Lord, we do not take credit for the things we do as we practice goodwill."

True Christian Religion 439