Episode 219: Hope for the Journey – Repentance

March 1, 2022

Lent is upon us. This week we’ll speak and hear the words, “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” as the sign of the cross is placed on foreheads. The journey of Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter.

We’ve planned a series of podcasts for Lent that will help you approach lent with hope. As you participate in self-examination and reflection this Lent, the podcast will help you explore a different theme each week. We begin this week with the theme of repentance.

Biblical Meaning of Repentance

In the Old Testament, there are two words used for repentance. They both mean to turn around or return. You can see it often in phrases like “to turn to the Lord with all your heart.” 

In the New Testament, there is one word. It is the Greek word metanoia, which literally means “to change the mind.” 

Repentance fundamentally means to change your mind or change your perspective or change the way you are thinking. You’ve been thinking one way, but now you think the opposite way. That’s repentance — the changing of the mind. 

An example in the New Testament might be Romans 12:2: “Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 

As you listen, explore several examples from Scripture. You also might “change your mind” about Tim and Sara always being serious. You’ll hear examples and reminders that help you embrace the role repentance places in our lives. 

Mentioned in this Episode

Episode 219


[00:00:00] Sara: You're listening to Leadercast episode 219.

[00:00:05] you're listening to leader cast, transforming missions podcast with Tim Bias and Sara Thomas. Providing you with resources to navigate the challenges and opportunities of courageous christ centered leaders

[00:00:21] Tim: This month we continue our focus on hope throughout the year. We want to explore hope through the themes of lint. Now, all of you who are listening, probably know those teams, but there are themes like repentance, forgiveness, courage, vulnerability, brokenness, and eventually we get to the cross and then to the tomb. So as we began this part of our journey, we want to explore hope through repentance.

[00:00:54] Sara: Before we jump into hope through repentance, let me remind you that you can find show notes@transformingmission.org forward slash 2 1 9 on the show notes page. You'll find information that we talk about in this episode, along with a link to hope throughout the year.

[00:01:10] Yes. We're still inviting you to participate in writing a devotion. For that little booklet that we're putting together.

[00:01:18] So Tim, a couple of weeks ago, you and I were having a conversation and I think I said something like, well, what I'm hearing is I want things to go back to the way they were and you responded.


[00:01:37] Sara: And then we were continuing the conversation and people were one-upping one another. And well let's just say not practicing humility, let alone kindness. And you respond.

[00:01:53] So, so tell me, Tim, what does repentance mean and why, why were you responding to those statements? Repent.

[00:02:05] Tim: Well Sara I remember that conversation and we were having some, some fun, I think, but in the old Testament there are two words used for repentance. And they both mean to, to turn around or to return. You can see it often in phrases, like to turn to the Lord with all your heart. And then in the new Testament, there's one word.

[00:02:30] It's the Greek word that I think a lot of us who are preachers have used over and over the words metanoia, and it literally means to change. Your mind or the mind. So you understand, and, and that conversation we were having, when somebody says, I wish we could go back to normal, you got to change your thinking.

[00:02:50] You got to change your, your mind. So, that's what, that's what I think about when I think about repentance.

[00:02:57] Sara: So, well, while we were joking around and having that conversation, what you're, what I'm hearing you remind us of Tim, is that repentance is fundamentally about changing your mind or changing your perspective or changing the way that you're thinking. You've been thinking one way, but now you need to turn that and think the opposite way that's repentance.

[00:03:20] So the changing of the.

[00:03:24] Tim: in the new Testament an example might be Romans 12, where it says don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I start with the biblical understanding of repentance, because it has little to do with how your dictionary defines repentance. Your dictionary will first go to feeling regret or feeling sorry for something.

[00:03:51] Sara: okay.

[00:03:52] Tim: know because I looked for it.

[00:03:55] Sara: Okay, let me interrupt you there, preacher, because I think you went to the biblical understanding because as people of faith, that's where we go first. No, I'm not going to tell you why you went there, but I get your point

[00:04:09] Tim: thank you. But from that perspective, repentance from the perspective of, of where we're living today and thinking about repentance and how it might have and how we might enter insert repentance from a cultural perspective lots of times when we reduce it to a feeling rather than taking an action it seems heavy and it seems punitive. We punish ourselves and our thoughts and feelings. So this definition or style of repentance actually leads to feeling bad before God makes you feel good.

[00:04:44] It has.

[00:04:45] its roots in people wanting to make sure that repenting is truly changing. it's not so much about changing a mind or changing a direction. It's really trying to make people feel sorry. And the more sorry they feel, the more they repent, that seems the way, the way it seems to me and our thinking today. So maybe, maybe Sara, we need to repent of that definition and understanding.

[00:05:18] Sara: Or said various simply change your stinking thinking. That's what I'm hearing you say is , the scripture goes first to thinking that leads to action. thinking back to. One of the coaching models that we talked about that started with your thoughts and your thoughts, influencing your feelings, your feelings, influencing how you behave.

[00:05:41] And, and that's what, that's what you're reminding me of in this moment. That it's very hard to repent. If you don't start with changing your thinking because that is what is going to lead to a change in that.

[00:05:56] Tim: So you, you hold that. Cause I, I just, I think it's so important that needs to be. So, so let's go because as we've talked about these things in the past, this is what actually will bring hope and your leadership repentance is a change in the way you think, which leads to changing the way you live. And when you really change your mind about something it's going to change the way you think about it, talk about it, feel about it and act.

[00:06:29] Sara: Yeah. And you're describing more than a mental game. You're describing repentance as a decisive change in direction. It's a change of mind that leads to a change of thinking that leads to a change of attitude that leads to a change of feeling that leads to a change of values that leads to a change.

[00:06:45] Guess what? In the way you live.

[00:06:48] Tim: So Sara we've said that three different ways Now so it must be awfully important. One more thing to consider. It's not just adjusting the course, but it's completely turning around physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.

[00:07:09] Sara: Now you're meddling.

[00:07:11] Tim: At well, I've been doing it for 48 years I'm just trying to state some reality. I mean, it's more than stopping a certain behavior and being sorry, or apologizing for something. This is a continuous decision to return to God and to receive a new beginning.

[00:07:33] Sara: And part of what you haven't said it, but part of what I'm experiencing, hearing you say it again and exploring the whole idea of repentance. There's also a freedom that comes from changing your mind and heading in a new direction. , and I guess part of why I'm thinking that is when I think about John Wesley and his understanding of holiness, whether he was expressing personal piety or social holiness, I think that that structure gives us.

[00:08:07] The, the freedom. If I can say it that way, that guides us to repentance and what he was pointing to when he was talking about being perfected in love. That's not pressure, that's freedom

[00:08:20] because there's guidance and there's handrails to hold on to, I guess, is what I'm saying.

[00:08:27] Tim: Sara, that for me, what you just said. Repentance gives us that freedom or brings the freedom to become who God created us to be. That's being perfected in love.

[00:08:39] Sara: And I'm going to pull a Tim bias here and go back to the hope cycle because when we're talking about being people of hope, sometimes along the path that we're following. Of trying to reach our goal. We have to course correct. And we recognize that that course correction is a 180 in the opposite direction.

[00:09:05] If we really want to achieve. And that's a part of, that's the agency of being able to stop and recognize, okay, gotta do something different here. I need to change how I'm thinking about this so that my actions change. If, if I want to head in the direction of my goal and that's the pathway that you're following, that's all a part of the hope cycle.

[00:09:28] Okay. I'm hijacking this episode. Go for it to Tim

[00:09:31] Tim: how cool is it, Sara? That, that repentance is on the road today.

[00:09:39] Sara: Yeah, when we think about repentance only as feeling sorry for something or. Wallowing in it. It's almost like a pity party. If you really want to play it out. If that's how we think about it, there's no freedom in that. There's no forgiveness in that and we're coming to that in future episodes.

[00:10:01] But if you truly repent, as we're talking about here, that does lead to hope because you can see the whole, a whole bunch of new possibilities to move towards what you were trying. To achieve. And whether that achievement is you know, a tangible goal or something you're simply wanting to have happened, it doesn't matter.

[00:10:25] So I know Tim, you have, you have a few thoughts. Imagine that on Jesus and what Jesus had to say about repentance. So why don't we shift gears and head in that direction?

[00:10:38] Tim: Well, I th I like where we are, but we get there, not because we've made it up or, or we've decided to do something different, like repent and change our minds, but we get there because Jesus started with repent because the kingdom of heaven has come near. You can find that in Matthew four, he said the same thing.

[00:11:01] Or mark records it the same way and oh, Luke does too. It's changed the way you've been thinking, change your attitude, change your perspective because you're in the presence of God. In other words, God's no longer, far off and unapproachable, but as come And human food. That's why Matthew knows Jesus as the light.

[00:11:23] And I'm going to quote one of those prophecies that, that, that Sara you use in terms of be alight. But the prophet, Isaiah, the people who live in darkness have seen a great light. And for those living in the shadows of death, light has Dawn. Jesus is light. The new way Jesus is saying, change your mind and believe something new.

[00:11:54] It's not going back to the way it was repentance. Isn't going back to the way it was. It's moving towards something new.

[00:12:06] Sara: And then in the sermon on the Mount in Matthew five, Jesus teaches you have heard it said, and, but I tell you a new way, considering these verses, I think Jesus in Matthew four 17 might be saying repent as check it out, wrap your mind around this, get onboard and believe in a new way. Yeah,

[00:12:29] Tim: And Sara, when Peter preached the truth about Jesus at Pentecost, he left his listeners wondering what they should do next. I mean, they say, what shall we do? And I think this is where our initial conversation started. Wasn't it? When people would say something and we'd say, well, what should we do? What should we do?

[00:12:50] Well, Simon Peter says repent. And each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. And I remember our conversation, Sara, as is, it is in the scripture 3000 people were added to their numbers that. So change the way you've been thinking about Jesus, change your attitudes and perspectives, and be initiated into this new movement of the Christ, because this is the bias addition to what Simon Peter said, because you've missed the point of his mission the way you've been thinking, because he's got away for you.

[00:13:34] And you've been looking at. Well, you've missed the point.

[00:13:40] Sara: So here's the question for us to, to ponder. Can you truly immerse yourself in the ways of God? Like going back to, what does that word baptism really mean? Can you really do that and not be in right relationship with God? That's why we have to repent because we're more out of right. Relationship with Jesus.

[00:14:07] He's calling us back to immersing ourselves in his ways you can't immerse yourselves in the ways of Jesus without being in a right relationship with Jesus. Those two things go hand in hand.

[00:14:23] Tim: Sara, one of the things I've been been thinking as we've been talking, and that is Jesus. As, as we get immersed in, in this movement of God, and Jesus says repent for the kingdom of God has come near. When we ask the question, where have you seen God today or where you've seen Jesus, that's really a question of repentance.

[00:14:47] Sara: Yeah,

[00:14:48] Tim: change the way you've been looking at it and your attitude because you're in the presence of God. Where are you seeing God? And if you're not seeing God, Hey, repent. It's time to change.

[00:15:00] Sara: right. Yeah. And, and I'll be honest him. I hadn't, I hadn't really thought about that question in that way, but you were absolutely right. And. I have probably said it on the podcast before of adventures and missing the point. Guess what? That's a call to repentance.

[00:15:19] Tim: That's the call to repentance. Now we're laughing and it seems like we're having fun with it, but that's just the opposite of what I have the way we usually think of repentance, because we actually do think of repentance of. All sorry about something or regretting something that doesn't mean that repentance doesn't bring that, but there's something, as you've said, Sara, very freeing because we actually become who God created us to be.

[00:15:51] When we can understand that we are immersed in the presence of God, with the people around us and the situations and circumstances in which.

[00:16:02] Sara: Yeah, well said, as you think about this journey through lent and this big idea of repentance, we want to encourage you. And this might sound silly, but to practice repentance this week. So Tim, what's one way that we, well, you've already begun to name one of the ways. Do you want to continue with that?

[00:16:27] Tim: Sara we've. We have offered more than once. A pattern of read, reflect, respond returned. And that's really one way to focus upon God's direction. Best recently we did a an episode on the means of grace. So maybe we can practice for repentance by focusing upon God and God's direction, and maybe you can and will receive what you need to live in the way you were created to live. And here's the challenge every day might be a day of repentance because every day you become more who God created you to be. I think that's pretty cool.

[00:17:11] Sara: So here's another one. Be honest about where God is calling you to change. This will lead to transformation or becoming more of who God created you to be. What we tend to do as human beings is want everybody else to change. And what we haven't talked about yet, Tim is you can't force or make anybody else repent.

[00:17:34] Only you can decide to repent. what's what's one more.

[00:17:38] Tim: You can help me a little bit with this one, but it's focus and reflect upon God's goodness and mercy and not upon shame. Shame is self-focused repentance is God focused. The way I'd say it is that we turn from. Our self-made self to who God is creating us to be. I know you have some, you have some info on, on shame and blame.

[00:18:10] Sara: I do, so just as a brief reminder, and we're not going to dwell on this, but shame says I am bad. It's focused on yourself. It's not focused on your behavior. And the result of that is we end up feeling alone. Guilt is something that we also confused with this and guilt says I did something bad.

[00:18:38] There's two others humiliation and embarrassment. We won't go there. pay attention to the difference between shame, guilt, and repentance.

[00:18:49] . Tim, what are your final thoughts? As we wrap up this episode on repentance, I might be able to predict what you're going to say.

[00:18:59] Tim: Sara over the years and it may seem simplistic

[00:19:03] over the years as I've talked about repentance, we we really don't have an English word for metanoia. The closest word we have an English to metanoia is a word metamorphosis, which means to change form. And we talk about metamorphosis when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Now, if I may say it this way, a caterpillar becoming a butterfly is exactly what God intended for the caterpillar to do.

[00:19:36] Sara: And there's a messy process in between those two things.

[00:19:40] Tim: The caterpillar and the caterpillar state is destructive. I mean, it can actually kill plants, but the caterpillar and the butterfly state is productive because it pollinates. Flowers. So as I think about it, I'm a caterpillar becoming a butterfly is exactly what God intends for it to be. So would you stand over the little caterpillar in terms of metanoia and say repent, little caterpillar, you should be all sorry for who you are and what you're about. I mean, I think of it that way.

[00:20:22] Sara: Yeah.

[00:20:23] Tim: would we, who then now are changing from one way of thinking to another way of thinking I'm feeling shame and guilt, because we now are beginning to live the way God would have us live. That should be a time of celebration. That should be a time of of great joy because no longer as a caterpillar you're crawling on the ground and destructive, but now you're flying in the breezes and you're productive. I think that's what Wesley means when Wesley talks about being perfected in love. That's what it is to be holy becoming who God created you to be. And. Yes. It's time to repent. It's time to change our way of thinking and our attitude and our perspective, even on repentance, because to change is to become more who God created us to be. That's the way I think about it. Does that make sense?

[00:21:32] Sara: That's sermon gets an amen.

[00:21:36] Tim: Well then repent. It's time to change your thinking because you're living in the presence of God And every day you can experience God's love and grace with the people around you and every situation, the circumstance you're in, what a celebration.

[00:21:53] Sara: I'm thinking that many of our listeners have never had so much fun with repentance. Or at the very least, I hope you've laughed a little with us as we've walked through this episode. Hope through repentance. So as a reminder, you can find show notes for this episode, including links to the hope cycle and the coaching model that I brought up, as well as other things that we've talked about, the scriptures that we've mentioned throughout this episode, you can find all of that on the show notesPage@transformingmission.org forward slash 2 1 9.

[00:22:30] And remember who you are is how you lead by for now