The ‘stages of change’ and ‘steps of repentance’ just discussed may be easier to understand with an example. Below, I’ve blended the two approaches to illustrate how the information from the Lord’s Word can be strengthened and applied using information drawn from the psychological study.
Pre-Contemplation / Self Exploration
Ted wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about. People were making too big a deal about his recent mistakes. That’s all they were as far as he was concerned—no harm intended; it wasn’t his problem. But that night he lay awake, angry about what happened and anxious about what to do next. He started reviewing the details of his mixed-up situation.
Contemplation / Recognition
Throughout the next day, Ted thought long and hard about all the stress he felt and the worries swirling in his head. He began to consider some of his options and to ask how he could better his life. Realizing his negative attitudes had led to rather immature behavior, he decided he needed to make some significant changes in his thinking and habits.
Preparation / Acknowledgement
During the week, Ted started doing some research, talking to a few trusted friends, reading the Word and gathering new information from several sources. He was feeling more open to insight and more determined to put some of the suggestions to work. He began writing down some goals and plans.
Action / Prayer
Then he took a big step. Looking both inwardly in prayer and thinking outwardly about his hopes, he began to let go of the baggage of his old habits. Drawing on an inner motivation, he started to take on a new attitude about his potential to act with more integrity.
Maintenance / Stop the Old
Over the next few weeks, Ted gradually found a rhythm in avoiding his old ways and experimenting with new more healthy attitudes and habits. He also noticed how easy it was to relapse, so he reminded himself not to become complacent, and he sought support to maintain his plans.
Termination / Begin Anew
It took a lot of effort at first, but over time, Ted felt a growing sense of confidence that the changes he was working on could last. Even close friends complimented him on his new efforts. There was no turning back. Ted had worked through the stages of change and steps of repentance and had emerged with a new, better way of living.