Nothing requires more courage than the admission of one’s fault. The disturbance that repentance evokes in our personal and collective psyches, while ruminating over a past wrong or misdeed, is so upsetting that we tend to exhaust every other available choice before we own up. We dread the bold admission that we are in the wrong. Not only individuals but also communities and nations face this dilemma.
Human beings have a double nature capable of great sacrifice and charity and at the same time capable of committing heinous acts. This is because the instinct to do good and the instinct to do bad are intertwined with both positive and negative qualities. We tend to hurt others by our thoughtless and selfish inclinations. There are moments in our lives when we regret our actions and wish we had not done what we had. There would be hardly anyone who has not at sometime or other grappled with feelings of guilt.
In most scriptures, there is a provision of undoing wrongs. But certain wrong like murder cannot be undone. They can only be forgiven. To those who are overburdened with guilt over things that had gone wrong, there is always a way out. God offers a second chance. Even nature will. Spiritual life requires, not to be selfish, greedy or proud and so on. We have the golden rule which lays down that we should do unto other what we expect others to do unto us. And whenever we violate these rules, we become liable for strife, tension and ill health.
Repentance means change, a new beginning, it means starting all over again. Repentance is not behaviour change, it results in behaviour change. Repentance happens in your mind. It brings humility, gratitude and a desire to set things right. Our actions are changed by our hearts, our hearts are changed by our minds and minds are changed by the word of God. Repentance is not a one time experience, it is our constant teacher.