Repentance is a Scriptural term denoting changing one’s ways. The original Hebrew word teshuvah means “return”. Once created in God’s image, man fell into sin, going away from God’s ways. To repent is to turn around 180 degrees from error and return to living as God originally intended. Humans (different from animals) were created in God’s image to become like Him. Instead, since Adam and Eve’s original sin, man has fallen into corruption going away from God’s ways. People may redeem their lives through the blood of the Savior by repentance and baptism.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Time to Turn Back to God
When someone is going full steam in the wrong direction, turning around and going in the opposite direction is very powerful. In Scripture (Acts 9), Paul most likely directed hundreds of Bible believing people to be murdered. Yet, when Paul was struck blind for three days and called to repentance, he changed and started preaching the true gospel. All the power Paul put into destroying people completely turned 180 degrees into saving thousands of people from destruction through his decades long ministry.
Major Repentance is Necessary
For example, a heavy drinker could repent and redirect wasted time and money into serving the needy at a homeless shelter. Or, a person wasting a tremendous amount on gambling could turn around this behavior and donate money to a local food pantry. See the point of repentance? All misused energy can be turned in the right direction to make a powerful impact in the community. What if all the people spending evenings at the bar would turn this wasted time into helping poor widows and the fatherless children in their community!
Americans wasted an estimated $137.5 billion dollars in gambling in 2017. In the entire world, it is estimated that over 500 billion was spent in gambling. What a tremendous amount of energy and funds that could have been spent in a productive manner! All the money spent in America on SNAP (food stamps), school meals, and WIC was less than 70 billion dollars last year. Imagine the 400 million low income families that could have potentially received twice the food assistance if wasted gambling money had been redirected to them!
Americans spent over $276 billion dollars in smoking, drinking, and recreational drugs last year. To put this in perspective, this is more money than the government spent on public education and the veterans program combined. Imagine what America would be like if all this wasted money was put to good use!
On a Personal Level
These statistics might seem overwhelming, so let’s take it down to a personal level. How much money is wasted in one American household? The average family spends over $6,000 each year on non-essential items. (Essential items are housing, food, transportation, insurance, etc.) How much of this dollar amount could be turned around and used for a better purpose? Are there needy children that could benefit from some of these funds? Making a difference in someone else’s life builds the power of love in the community. One family at a time, there can be a difference in the world through repentance, which is changing bad or useless habits into what God intended in the first place, loving our neighbors, which is also loving Him.
“Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)