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Repentance (Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions)

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned’, he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood’. ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘You see to it’. So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. (Matthew 27: 3-5). It is not uncommon, though certainly unhealthy, for people to confuse remorse with repentance. The confused situation in which we find ourselves today also engenders confusion in theological thinking. This is clear if we take into account the huge gap between theological theory and theological experience. So, on the level of the inadequate functioning of theological experience, remorse is equated with repentance.” (Vasilios Grillas)

“In the original Greek, the word “repentance” appears as metanoia. Literally, this word means “to change the nous or deep center of the heart….Repentance is thus to reform the inner core of ourselves…True repentance is not just feeling sorry, but involves both the heart and actions….Repentance indicates a complete change in thinking, an “about face” of the mind and heart. Genuine repentance is evidenced by changed behavior….Being sorry [remorse] for sin is not enough. Repentance demands a change of mind and heart that results in changed behavior.” (Dynamis 10/10/2020, Orthodox Study Bible, Jonah 3:5-9, Foundation Study Bible, Acts 26:20, Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 3:11-13)

“Repentance is not to be confused with mere remorse, with a self-regarding feeling of being sorry for a wrong done. It is not a state but a stage, a beginning. Rather, it is an invitation to new life, an opening up of new horizons, the gaining of a new vision. Christianity testifies that the past can be undone. It knows the mystery of obliterating or rather renewing memory, of forgiveness and regeneration, eschewing the fixed division between the "good" and the "wicked," the pious and the rebellious, the believers and the unbelievers. Indeed, "the last" can be "the first," the sinner can reach out to holiness.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“Remorse can be a good thing or not. In today’s culture with so much misguided emphasis on thoughts and feelings as preeminent it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because we feel remorse that makes us good. We can stop short at only feeling remorse or we can let the feeling of remorse drive us to the act of repentance. For example, if I feel bad about something I did wrong to someone but never apologize, ask for forgiveness, and then take the action to repair the wrong, and also never behave that way again, or less frequently because despite any weakness I have my heart is now convicted of needed changes in my behavior, then my remorse is worthless. If I do these things then my remorse is good because it served as the catalyst for repentance.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Repentance is to do the works of God rather than the works of the devil. Sin is much more a state of being, a demonic force, than it is a list of evils committed. That means repentance -- the struggle to do the works of God rather than the works of the devil -- is constant. It is an ongoing, dynamic movement, not a transactional achievement. It doesn't matter if you can't think of something you did wrong. Repentance is always needed.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“To repent is to do a total “about-face.” The word in Greek literally means to “change one's mind.” Repentance is a radical change of one's spirit, mind, thought, and heart—a complete reorientation to a life centered in Christ.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Mark 1:14-15)

“…repentance is not a self-improvement program. Its primary motive is not the fear of punishment, and its main purpose is not the removal of regret or shame. No, the focus of our change of heart and mind must be on our relationship with God.” (Fr. Basil)

“One of the ways we grow is through godly repentance. The devil tries to block genuine repentance by provoking us to feel self-loathing, toxic shame, and self-rejection. These maladaptive conditions essentially proclaim that God made a mistake when He created us.” (Robin Phillips)

“Christ announced His ministry in Mark’s account of the Gospel and said “Repent and believe in the Gospel’ (Mark 1:15). Have you ever worried whether you are repentant, or repentant enough? Anyone with a sincere desire to follow Christ has at different times. We are so trained in the West to disproportionately value our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that sometimes we can consternate too much on what we think and feel and confuse ourselves. Repentance is more clearly revealed in our actions rather than our thought struggles and up and down feelings. For example, we may not always feel compassionate, but what matters more is what we do in a situation that requires compassion. Ideally thoughts and actions go together and we cannot be dismissive of them, nor be a slave to them. If we go to Church regularly, worship with the right heart, pray daily, love others through giving of our time and resources, and are sincerely striving to be Christ-like, regardless of how we think and feel at a given moment, these are the actions of repentance. If our hearts are right, it is through these actions that Christ transforms us, and over time and our thoughts, feelings, and actions will become more integrated in joyful repentance.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“I will return to the image of learning to ride a bicycle. There is a two-fold element in that process, analogous to purification and illumination. Falling off and getting back on are the essential elements of purification. Fear and any number of passions could prevent this process from taking place. Falling off is not failure. Not getting back on would be failure. Our moral failures are almost beside the point. Repentance, the refusal to abandon the life of grace in Christ, is the one thing necessary. Illumination comes in time and with it comes a greater awareness and understanding of our failings…It is vital that we make a beginning in this journey of inner renewal. We do not ignore what can be known through discursive reasoning, but we do not mistake it for saving knowledge. We recognize the reality of sentimentality in our lives but we do not raise it to the level of authentic spiritual experience. With prayer, repentance, and helpful guidance (there is no Christianity without some form of discipleship) we come to hear and know the Shepherd’s voice. We will fall down a lot. What matters is getting back up.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

#OrthodoxStudyBible #FrBasil #RobinPhillips #SacramentalLivingMinistries #FatherStephenFreeman #VasiliosGrillas #Dynamis #FoundationStudyBible #LifeApplicationStudyBible #GreekOrthodoxArchdiocese #FrAndrewStephenDamick

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