I’m currently working on a novel that has caused me to think a lot about repentance. A little while ago, I was researching repentance and I stumbled upon the word metanoia. The word metanoia means “a transformative change of heart” or a spiritual conversion. The word conversion, itself, means “to turn altogether,” or to change direction.
I think, too often, I have confused repentance with a mere change in behaviors. Repentance can certainly include a change in behaviors. But true, deep repentance is much more than that—it is a 180 degree change of heart that fundamentally transforms us. Once transformed, we no longer desire to do certain behaviors.
Throughout my travels, I have frequently taken a path that has led me astray. The realization of my mistake is sometimes embarrassing but always requires a course correction—a turn around.
Metaphorically speaking, we frequently take the wrong paths in life—paths that lead us astray. The full realization of our mistakes is often embarrassing, but the quickest way home is to change accept our mistakes and change our direction—to turn around.
C. S. Lewis put it this way:
“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. There is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world it’s pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We’re on the wrong road. And if that is so we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.”
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