I have always believed that Lent was about changing course in some aspect of your life. That is why I posted about path dependency yesterday, since it affects your course change efforts, or as we Christians like to say, your repentance. One of the definitions of repentance or metanoia is change, but change in such a way as to reverse the previous direction, more than simply turning around and looking back. I believe that is why so many shy away from real repentance. It is just plain hard, hard to do and hard to stick to.
Paul discusses the issue of true repentance in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11
As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
So far this Lent, I have not settled on which course change to tackle. There is grief enough to go around, but from experience I know it is not something I can plan ahead to do, but rather it is the area God reveals to me over the course of of my observance and often is wide afield of where I personally intended.
As I await which row to hoe, I need remind myself of one aspect of repentance that often gets forgotten or at least downplayed. It is the part of the confession of sin where we say we have sinned “by what we have left undone.” It is too easy to focus on our overt actions and slide by our failures to act or as the it used to be called, “our sins of omission.” Failing to act is a true course choice and it gets easier with each new failure. It requires just as much of a course change as does dealing with overt sin.
So whether is stopping or starting and where to do it, God will direct and I will attempt to comply. Isn’t Lent fun…
Grace and peace to your day and may God direct your steps and guide you in the direction He wants you to go.