Eugene Cho

‘repent’ – one of the most beautiful words of the christian faith

Perhaps like some of you, I’ve developed a skewed perspective and meaning of the word ‘repent.’

And perhaps this an appropriate post in light of the coming rapture – aka – the end of the world as we know it.

When I’ve heard it used by preachers, teachers, and leaders, it was often associated with sin, death, hell, shame, punishment, and ultimately, an angry God.

It’s not that I have problems with the image of an angry God. It’s clear that there are images and stories that depict God’s anger and wrath but enveloping the image of God’s wrath are the bookends of God’s creative beauty and God’s redemptive glory.

This is why I love the word ‘repent’.

It was never intended to simply convey sin, wrongdoing, shame, or judgement – in isolation – but rather, to convey that God has a better way…a God of love, mercy, and compassion. It is one of the most beautiful and profound words of the Christian faith because no matter what we have done; No matter what situation; No matter what painful and hopeless circumstance…God always has a better way for us. God extends grace to us. God extends Himself to us.

When we ‘repent’ and turn away from certain things, we turn:

  • Not to emptiness
  • Not to void.
  • Not to nebulous concepts and theories.
  • Not to confusion.

We turn to the ways of God.

So beautiful.

Take 2 minutes to watch the video above.

So, I say to all of us:

Repent…Embrace grace.

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9 Responses

  1. Garrett S. says:

    Such a good word!

    For so long, repent has been a word associated with a kind of shame. And like you pointed out, there is a part of that, that rings true. I sin and there should be at least some regret (I’d be more concerned if there wasn’t). However, I had always thought that repentance meant to ask forgiveness up until a month ago when I was studying Hebrews.

    It’s so much deeper and every bit as wonderful as you describe it! Repentance is the event that happens in the heart and mind that leads to righteousness. To the things of God!

    I love the word repentance! So good! Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Kim says:

    Awesome post. Thanks!

  3. Chae says:

    And to simply put it… repentance is loving God and not loving sin.

  4. JJ says:

    Thank you for this, Pastor. I really needed to read and receive this today.

  5. Sejin says:

    It sure seems like the Greek word for repent, “Metanoeo” was spoken in the loving, kind tone that you mentioned.

  6. jchenwa says:

    I like the ‘re’ in repent,

  7. Turning to the despair of the great void is no repentance at all, but rather completes our turn away from God’s reality and into the very Abyss.

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Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

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The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor. It's a sad reality but our society runs on the currency of fear. Don't feed into this frenzy.

Rather, invest in faith, hope, and love.

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