“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”—Matthew 3:2

When we hear the word “Repent!” we often picture an angry preacher pointing his finger, shouting us down. Or, a street preacher holding a sign.

But here is how I see it:

You are falling down a rabbit hole, grasping at the sides of the tunnel to keep from falling. But you don’t know how to stop the slippery slide into darkness, as fear and anxiety torment you.

Until you hear a voice, louder, stronger than any of the whispering voices pulling you down. This voice says, “Stop! Come to Me! Turn Around!”

It is a voice that imparts strength and hope and gives you the courage to skid to a stop and dare to look back at the light at the top of the hole.

Flooded with empowering light and hearing that encouraging voice, you find the strength to go back. To turn around and find freedom.

Soon you are going faster and faster as the ground levels out and you are running toward light and hope and LIFE!

Did you ever read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress? The scene where the main character, Christian, runs toward the Celestial City is how I see the joy of repentance.

The word gospel means good news and repentance is the first word of the good news.

You can turn around! There is a way out of the dark hole. There is hope!

The Hebrew word for repent is teshuva, which literally means to turn around and go back. Quit sinning and doing what will hurt you. True repentance requires a change of mind, and a change of behavior.

When God calls us to repent, it is with the heart of a father who loves His wandering child.

It is a picture of a loving father waiting with open arms to embrace you and welcome you home, to heal your wounds and set you on the path of righteousness that will restore your soul.