Turn Around

phalanx

There have been many parents over the years, that in their instilling of moral values to their children have used the enforced “sorry.”  Mum: “You should never take your sister’s things.  Go say you’re sorry.”  Daughter with a doleful, but half-hearted voice: “Sorry.”

I see it with my students as well.  A student will arrive five minutes late to class, and with a nonchalant tone, say “Sorry.”  But, does saying the word, make it right?  Does going through the verbal motions make a difference?

Jesus when asked by the disciples how often should someone forgive, replied with “seventy times seven” times.  His message was that our willingness to forgive, should not be rationed.  But this still begs the question of what it means to seek forgiveness.  Is it an attempt to “get off the hook,” or is it a heartfelt appeal from the depths of the soul to restore relationship.

At its core forgiveness and apology are both about relationship.  This is as true of us and God; as it is with our fellows.  Sin, the transgressions of God’s will, separates us from Him. Slights and wrongs in our daily relations, separate us from those we encounter.  So how do we fix it?  The answer is repentance.

Repentance is more than an empty “sorry.”  It is a true, honest attempt to right the wrong.  It is a sincere admission of our failing.  It is also the deliberate pursuit of changing what we did wrong in the first place.

The Greek term μετάνοια means to change one’s perception.  It was used as a military command in a phalanx.  It was similar to the American “about face,” or British “about turn” commands. It means to turn around, to go another direction.  True repentance is changing direction, following a new path.

I am not suggesting it is easy.  It does not come naturally to turn away from habits, vices, or just simple selfishness.  If we turn, however, it will aid us in building relationships.

Is it your turn to turn?

Padre

 

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