“There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 (NIV)
What is your reaction to the word repentance? We come from many different backgrounds, and your reaction will tell you a great deal about what you think repentance is.
For some of us repentance sounds heavy! If that’s your reaction, it probably means that you think of repentance as beating up on yourself. A lot of people have that idea.
If that’s what you think about repentance, a month of devotions on this theme is probably not very inspiring: I feel bad enough about myself already! But, if you continue to think of repentance as beating up on yourself, you won’t be able to hear what Christ says to you about the change he wants to bring in your life.
You have to get rid of that baggage, and the place to start is with a question: If repentance is beating up on yourself, then why did Jesus say that there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents? If repentance is beating up on yourself, how could the angels have joy in it? If the angels found joy in human misery, they would not be angels, but devils.
So when Jesus tells us that there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, he makes it clear that whatever repentance is, it is not beating up on yourself. It is not a journey of sustained misery. It is not an odyssey into self-condemnation or regret. What is your immediate gut-level reaction to the word repentance? There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, and if there is joy in it for heaven, there is joy in it for you.
What is your immediate gut-level reaction to the word repentance?