After going the same direction on our evening walk for about a hundred times, this evening I decided to go the opposite way. My dog was very confused. The resistance began at the end of the driveway and continued for almost the entire mile. Every time we stopped for her to sniff she tried to reverse course when the sniffing ended. She finally stopped wanting to go back when we rounded the last corner and she could finally see home ahead.
For over a half a century I have been encouraging people to repent. “Repent” meaning to reverse course in life. Maybe it is less difficult for a human than a dog, but I doubt it. Actually, I believe it is more difficult for us. To let go of isms and ologies is very difficult. I have watched Christians struggle to undo a history of hearing sermon after sermon telling them they have to do this and that to be saved, then suddenly try to “by faith let go and let Jesus.” It is easier said than done. Repenting of a past understanding of the Gospel is not an easy task.
How much more difficult must it be for someone coming from a non-Christian background to repent of ingrained biases and habits that were forged in childhood. It is so easy for someone like me to stand up and say “repent” and then go home and not think about the burden I have just cast upon some sin-weary soul.
Just as my dog struggled to walk the opposite direction, we must understand and be patient with people who have set upon a new course in life. The challenge of being like Jesus is not easy. Words are easy. Repenting can be very tough.
Written by Roger Bothwell on August 4, 2015
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574