What repentance has been turned into seems to me to be just another religious adventure in missing the point. It has become one of the most valuable tools used in an attempt to modify behavior in a fear and shame management system that has been reduced to adherence to a moral code and also tied to how "committed" someone is to the agenda of an institution. When repentance seems to me to be about something completely other.
It's something that happens as one begins to see Father for who he really is which sets in motion the changing of one's mind as they begin to see the destructive existence of independence for what it is, which in turns leads them to change directions and begin walking into the beautiful Life of dependence trusting Father. When it is seen in this reality, it just seems to me that it doesn't have much at all to do with remorseful wailing of "I'm sorry for breaking the rules...I won't ever do it again". True repentance has a way instead of sending people into moments of joyful delight and celebration.
I began thinking about all of that this morning as I was in the middle of a conversation with someone I had not talked to for a few years. She was telling me about the stress her husband and her live under as her husband lives/works to maintain the American Success Dream. And they are very successful by those standards.
It just reminded me of my experience that culminated in 2005 through my pursuit of "success" as the world defines it, and it having led me to the brink of exhaustion and frustration that was shooting out from my life in all directions as anger and frustration. I began to realize that I'd grown tired of living in what turned out to be the far off country. My "far off country" was rather clean morally so the season of repentence in my life had nothing at all to do with coming in line with a moral code.
I was eight months into 2006 before I realized those eight months had been a journey that would redefine what repentance would now mean to me. I had just given up the old way I had attempted to live and changed my mind as to how to proceed from that point. I changed directions. This is about finding freedom from the things of the world that has lured us away from our home...grabbing for things Father had not given. Things that really have no lasting value at all. When we clearly see what the trade is that we are making...there's really no remorse in that moment of repentance at all except maybe the moment we see the beauty and joy we have missed out on while on our adventure in missing the point. But that seems to fade rather quickly also when you see that groveling only keeps us from being able to take in the love that Father is extending.
I get the sense that part of the father's run to get to the son once he noticed him while he was still far off had a little to do with the father wanting to ease the boys pain as quickly as he could. There's just no time for begging and remorse in this family that is being restored...only celebration.