TO AGREE & RETURN
March 19, 2023
Last week was the 1 year anniversary of the release of my book To Be Concluded. Below is an excerpt, exploring Confession and Repentance. As Easter approaches, this is an invitation to prepare intentionally, to reflect and remind ourselves of God’s goodness with the rhythms of confession and repentance.
If you grew up in church, you are probably familiar with these words, confession and repentance, and they probably feel heavy.
The idea of confession and repentance gives new meaning to familiar misery, as the pair were often presented as a threat: confess and repent, or else. If you don’t, something terrible is going to happen.
Instead of “repent or else,” Jesus turns repentance into a response to good news, not the threat of bad news.
Repentance doesn’t look like a promise not to do that again.
Repent means “to return” or “to change your mind,” to literally change direction from the path you were going.
Repentance says, “I’m turning in a new direction, and I’m going to walk in the new way!”
Often we get into patterns where we are stuck holding on to what we mistakenly believe are our core identities, either our glory days or our worst moments. This diminishes our vision, and it causes us to miss what’s happening—the very thing we’re actually invited to be a part of. To repent is to walk in a new way, to step into the life you’ve been invited to.
Confession means “to agree.”
Confession is not the task of making a list of the things to repent, the things you’ve done wrong that you promise not to do again. You confess so you can bring things into the light, so you may align your heart with God’s heart, and seek what he desires for you.
We aren’t trying to earn God’s forgiveness by the sincerity of our confession, but rather we receive what he has done because we trust what he has said. Rather than trying to prove ourselves, we are bringing these things in the light so we can see.
Confession becomes the way we encounter the sustaining grace of our heavenly Father.
Jesus invites you to walk in his kingdom right now— today. He invites you to turn to something that has been made available to you, and your repentance points you in that direction today. To repent is to return. We return again and again until we remain returned.