"In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.'"
Yesterday I started teaching a new series at Graceway on discipleship, and one of the key concepts we are exploring is how, when we experience events in our lives (kairos events) that affect our emotions and actions, we enter into a process of learning that leads to an opportunity for transformation. The first half of this process (which we refer to as the circle) is "repentance". To "get this" however, I think we have to talk a little bit about what we mean by "repent". The images that often accompany this word are ones of the "turn or burn" ilk.. or refers simply to apologizing for the things we do and have done. It's not that either one of those understandings is "wrong", just incomplete. The word "repent" comes from the Greek word 'metanoia' which means 'to change one's mind', 'to turn', 'to change direction'. So often we are so focused on the "turning away" that we put no emphasis on the "turning to". It is also important to understand that repentance is not just a one time event, but an ongoing process of turning towards God and learning to walk with him. Kairos can happen in both positive and negative experiences, but to experience transformation in either case we must repent… turn TO God. Sometimes, yes, this involves saying we are sorry or leaving behind destructive behavior, but more importantly true repentance will always lead to belief (evidenced by our actions).