Wednesday, November 6, 2013


"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance." Lk 15:7

Most of us regret some of our actions and behaviors, especially when we realize how much hurt we caused in others' lives. Whether it was a single act or word, or a pattern of behavior that made us feel better or superior to others, does not matter. Because we undermined another's confidence or reputation, we must pray for the courage to repent. Recognizing our faults and sins and taking responsibility for the hurt we caused is the beginning of repentance and the first step towards authentic reconciliation.

At the same time, we can get lost in repentance, particularly when we are more concerned with feeling better about ourselves than we are for the people whose lives and reputations we damaged. Repentance, while important, can be a distraction from authentic growth in faith. While it is important to recognize our flaws, it is equally important to spend the healing we receive from God's gracious Spirit by doing good.

This is very clear in the Gospel. Jesus heals many on his journey towards Jerusalem and his own death, but the healed must respond to others who are in need. Imagine the leper who returns to Jesus to give thanks for his healing, but then leads a life of self centered absorption. The point of being healed from leprosy is to return to life in the community with the same attitude towards others that Jesus had towards them. Only when the healed leper in us treats others with the compassion of Jesus is our repentance complete.

Today, ask God to give you an attitude of repentance.

What are your biggest regrets about your life of faith?

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