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Repentance (for Others)

“Our souls are paralyzed by self-love, unable to lift a finger to help another at our own expense. Certainly most of us show concern for others, and many of us may do “a good deed for the day,” but when it is a matter of “him or me,” more often than not, the choice is “me.” This is the sickness of which all of us are in need of healing, a healing for which we must all cry out to Christ in repentance.” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“When we look at the history of Israel we see that their enemies triumphed over them each time they fell away from the Lord, but that the Lord always helped them whenever they repented sincerely. The Lord is always with us.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“Because of self-love we often think of repentance in terms of how it applies to us as individuals. It is of course true that as unique persons we should be living in a state of personal and joyful repentance. However, we see in the Old Testament that often the nation of Israel would repent as a nation. Confession and repentance in the ancient Church used to be public, not just between one person and the priest in private. In addition to being repentant in our own hearts, we should pray in repentance when we encounter the evil and sinful deeds of others because we have shared humanity in Christ. We are connected to one another. We all suffer sin and by the grace of God some of us overcome it better than others but we need to pray and repent for ourselves and also for everyone else.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Repentance is indeed an act of reconciliation, of reintegration into the Body of Christ, which has been torn asunder by sin. For "if one member suffers, all suffer together" (1 Corinthians 12.26). "Therefore, confess your sins to one another ... that you may be healed" (James 5.16)….It is through the faith of the community that the individual is readmitted and forgiven. "When Jesus saw their faith [the men who lowered the paralytic through the roof] He said, 'man, your sins are forgiven' " (Luke 5.20; cf. Matthew 9.2 and Mark 2.5)…repentance defies mechanical definition. It is a continual enactment of freedom, a movement forward, deriving from renewed choice and leading to restoration. The aim of the Christian is not even justification but a re-entry by sinner and saint alike into communion in which God and man meet once again and personal experience of divine life becomes possible. Both prodigal and saint are “repenting sinners.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“We, too, ought to repent when such deeds occur, rather than merely excoriating those who committed the crimes as if we stood apart. When we do this, we are not excusing sin, but rather admitting that evil thoughts, urges, and desires arise in our own hearts and minds. Repentance is urgent and appropriate.” (Dynamis 10/8/2019)

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