I was asked the other day on Twitter to elaborate more on the RESOLE process. Instead of rewriting it all, I thought it would be good to provide links to past posts that discuss each element in more detail. Here is a list of each:
Today, I’d like to explore a potential fifth element to the RESOLE process: REPENT. A simple definition is in order first. To repent is to (1) recognize the wrong in something you have done and be sorry about it and (2) feel regret about a sin or past actions and change your ways or habits. The essence of repentance is humility. Pride is the enemy of true repentance because it says “I have done nothing wrong” while digging its heels. Humility respectfully accepts personal error while seeking forgiveness with open hands. Two very different images. Ultimately, the true essence of repentance is turning from sin and turning to the place where Jesus accomplished the work that allows us to repent: the cross. Martin Luther said “all of life is repentance”. (Thanks Bobby for the thought and quote!)
Repentance breeds authenticity and willingness to be corrected. It says, “I don’t have all the answers.” “My ways are not always right.” And, “I have screwed things up royally.” The act of repenting is a core element to religion, but I propose that it should be a core element of life. It is as much a mental and emotional act as it is spiritual. There is freedom in owning up and admitting wrong doing, despite the consequence. Imagine our world if repentance were valued and practiced, even encouraged.
In America, we are standing in the midst of potential economic disaster as our selfish, polarized government officials cannot agree how to avert the fiscal calamity known as sequestration. But they are only demonstrating a character deficit that plagues our society as a whole. The selfishness of the pursuit of happiness we value in America today has created the mess we are in. The sins and errors we have made as a nation under the mantra of “pursuit of happiness” is sickening and the only way to combat it is through true repentance. I read a prophecy blogger every day by the name of Bob Thiel. He compares current events with bible prophecy and provides solid analysis of what is happening through a biblical worldview. He has been saying for quite a while now that what our nation needs more than anything else is national repentance. I couldn’t agree more.
I challenge you to honestly consider a few things.
- In your personal life, what do you need to fess up to and turn away from? If you deny you have anything to repent of, you’re fooling yourself. We’ve all done wrong and will continue to. It is part of being flawed beings. But there is grace and hope!
- What about your community? Are there community sins that need to be repented of? Cultural repentance has to start with a few and build from there. In my town of Oak Ridge, TN, there is a cultural sin that has lingered for decades, nearly a century. You see, Oak Ridge was created for the sole purpose of creating the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan to end World War II. The city was created for death and, in my opinion, has kept it bondage ever since. But that doesn’t have to be the future. Community repentance can break the chains.
- Business and organizations would also benefit from repentance. Think of the damage so many organizations have caused through their greed, lust for power, and lack of care for those they were supposed to be fighting for. Think about the 2008-2009 recession that could have been avoided had our financial institutions valued ethical practices rather than profitable ones. Or how about countless churches that have damaged the image of Jesus because of their hypocrisy and judgment. Organizational sin must be confronted and corrected.
- Finally, our nation is on the doorstep of judgment for the countless decisions to turn away from the principles it was founded upon. The leaders in Washington, D.C. are incapable of leading for fear of losing the support of the organizations and individuals that have given them their power. It’s screwed up! But we can begin a movement of national repentance one person at a time.
I am now convinced that REPENT is the adhesive that holds RESOLE together.Without it, the entire process would be meaningless and inconsistent. Thomas Carlyle, Scottish historian during the 1800s, said that “Of all acts of man repentance is the most divine. The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.”
And, finally, a Chinese proverb. “Forethought is easy, repentance hard.” It truly is