liberation beyond repentance

March 4, 2017

The New Testament word repentance is a translation of the Greek word “metanoia,” which denotes a change of mind, a reorientation, a fundamental transformation of outlook. “Meta” means beside or beyond and “noia” means thought or mind. Beyond thought.

One could say repentance is a suspension of current thinking to make room for a totally new way of thinking, to enable a change of course.

I think the poet and theologian Fred LaMotte put it really well when he said, “to repent is to transcend the intellect, to go into the silence beyond thought, beyond ideology, even beyond religion. That’s where the forgiveness is.”

That’s where the forgiveness is. I love the imagery in that sentence.

Too many times we equate repentance with regret. And, we come by it honestly, because Matthew 27:3 uses the Greek verb metamelomai in stating that Judas “repented himself” after he saw Jesus being led away. In this context, metamelomai denotes “painful sorrow” or “remorseful regret.”

But, we should remember the remorseful shock Judas felt isn’t the only form of repentance available to us. We should also celebrate the liberation of repentance, of changing our mind and suspending our thinking for an opportunity to try something new and better.

Repentance can provide relief from the suffering, confusion and exhaustion we experience from clinging to tired habits, close-mindedness and fear. All of which can be replaced with the joy, contentment and encouragement of the Good News.

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