I was given a book for Christmas by a fellow coach that I’m beginning to read (This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley). This small snippet stood out to me this morning and as I sat back to process my heart was focused on how I repented after I was a follower of Christ.
Repentance means that we choose to agree only with God’s perspective. That He alone is God an He alone understands the blatant ways in which our own hearts deceive us. Evil that we will never notice exists in us and around us, yet it’s as obvious to God as genocide is to us.
To repent is to say to God: “I’m blind. I don’t see, but I want to. Please show me Your heart in everything.
Most of the time when we hear the word “repentance” we think it only applies to the lost but now found folks or the believers who have gone off the rails and been living in “sin”. But for me, my repentance came after I realized how a large chunk of what I was taught about the Divine growing up was more a cultural, systematic view of Christ, God and the Holy Spirit.
My repentance came several years after I committed to following the teachings of Jesus. The more I began to read and study scripture on my own, I was flabbergasted by some of the core concepts I was taught about how God functions. So much… SO MUCH of it was completely contrary to what I was learning.
Being open and humble enough to allow God to say, “Hey buddy. You’re missing the point. All of these things you’re telling people. All of these things you believe about me – that’s not me. That’s this guys interpretation of me based off of his culture. I don’t love only these people. I don’t support only this army. This is not my nation. My heart is breaking for everyone not just those who are ‘trying to live right’. You can’t keep living like this and telling people that I am this.”
I don’t honestly remember how long it took but these realizations were constant, steady, for long enough that I finally broke. My breaking was due to my spirit telling me that I couldn’t push away the urging and longing in my heart to move in the opposite direction. Once I had a willingness to remotely being open to change, true repentance arrived.
The hardest things I’ve ever had to do were admitting that I confused much of my cultural beliefs and values to be God given or God inspired. In actuality they were simply a box of cultural perceptions with a GOD label slapped on top. Truly realizing the God of scripture to be loving, merciful, desiring shalom and full of more grace than we can fathom, changed how I lived and especially how I treated people.
But making this shift from believing and following the good ole American-Christian loving Star Spangled Jesus to growing into a man who is more comfortable with the mystery of God than having answers was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was hard to realize that Jesus doesn’t run with the American flag on his back like an Olympian running his victory lap. God walks among the Muslim and the Christian. He loves the terrorist and the patriot. (Can we agree that to the terrorist, we are the terrorist and they are the patriot – food for thought). This breath in your lungs, the name of the Divine, is the same spirit within the atheist.
But if you never search and listen to hear the heartbeat of the Divine’, you will miss Her. You will miss the spirit of God on your early morning run. You will miss hearing the spirit move within your soul when you
May you be encouraged to search.
May your heart be open to the mystery of the Divine.
May the longing within your soul be filled with the love, mercy, grace and Shalom of God.
Grace and Peace.