I painted this canvas in Oil as part of several Oils completed while studying the work of Jerry Yarnell in his Painting Basics, Volume One. 

I may be stretching the point just a bit by using it to represent our Thought—‘Repent’. See any connection?


Made a Bad Choice?

LAST WEEK’S blog about ‘Choice’ got me thinking about how to handle situations when we realize we made a bad choice and regret it. Since my bad choices produce less than desirable consequences, what are my options? The place to start may be to ask questions: What consequences did I desire?  In line with last week’s blog, was my desire motivated externally or internally? What could have been a better choice?

‘Repent’ & Religion

SEEING THAT TODAY’S Thought is ‘Repent’, many readers immediately connect the word to religion. This is understandable in a culture influenced by Jewish, Christian, and Islamic sacred texts. The Hebrew and Greek root words translated into some form of the English word ‘repent’ appear more than 1100 times in the Old and New Testaments. We see this influence on the English dictionary definition of ‘Repent’: “[To] feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin. “The priest urged his listeners to repent”’

‘Repent’ in Day-to-day Life

What about day-to-day life where I feel I made a bad Choice: I ‘messed up’?  Even if your bad Choice was not in the moral realm, I believe ‘Repent’, in its root meaning, is still the right word.  You may still view or think of (an action or omission) with deep regret or remorse: Why did I paint that room such a ridiculous color?  Why did I not respond to her question sooner and avoid all this stress? Most of our choices and their consequences are not strictly in a moral category, but ‘Repentance’ is still the right response.     


I like the way Wikipedia broadens the use of ‘Repent’ beyond the moral arena. “Repentance is reviewing one’s actions and feeling of contrition or regret for past wrongs which is accompanied by commitment to and actual actions that show and prove a change for the better.”  I see five steps:

  1. Review my choice that turned out to be a bad one
  2. Reflect on my sorrow for the consequence it produced
  3. Seek and implement ways to repair the damage where possible
  4. Identify a better choice based on better information including this experience
  5. ‘Repent’: Implement new action based on my changed way of thinking.


IT SEEMS TO ME that to truly ‘Repent’ one must also be able to ‘forgive’. Think about it.  When our bad ‘choice’ (intentional or unintentional) hurts someone else, and we see the undesirable consequence, we ‘Repent’ and seek to repair the damage.  We may seek ‘forgiveness’, whether it is extended or not.  So, do unto others as you would have them do unto you– Luke 6:31.  If I seek ‘forgiveness’ through my ‘Repentance’, am I also willing to extend ‘forgiveness’ when someone’s ‘Repentance’ includes me?

Our Model

ONE WAY I see our having been created in the image of God is in the combination of ‘Repentance’ and ‘forgiveness’.  Throughout Scripture when mankind ‘Repents’ from the bad ‘choices’ related to God’s loving teaching for us, God is there with ‘forgiveness’ and the opportunity to make a better ‘choice’.  God’s example of this forgiveness when we fail to follow Jesus’ model is exemplified in the ministry of John the Baptist. And so, John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  Mark 1:4 …and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his [Jesus] name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:47

Quotes on ‘Repentance’

“‘Repentance’ means you change your mind so deeply that it changes you.”– Bruce Wilkinson

A man [or woman] walks on through life – with the external call ringing in his [or her]ears but with no response stirring in his heart, and then suddenly, without any warning, the Spirit taps him on the shoulder. What happens? He turns ’round. The word ‘repentance‘ means ‘turning ’round.’ He repents and believes and is saved.” –Peter Marshall, former Chaplin of U.S. Senate.

 More Peter Marshall Quotes

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”

“Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s