It doesn’t mean what we think it does.
By now, many of us understand that there is quite a bit of nuance in the practices of confession, forgiveness, and repentance. They’re not the same.
Many of us have heard that the true meaning of repentance is the “turning away from.” To an extent, this is true. However, it moreso lends itself to our Western way of thinking. The Hebraic perspective offers a different angle and foundation altogether. To understand this, we have to visit the meaning of sin.
Many would define sin as any of the following:
– the opposite of perfection
– doing bad stuff
– falling short
The basic definition of sin in the Hebrew is “failure.” This moreso aligns with the definition that has circulated many churches today — “missing the mark.” Picture a bullseye. Sin is to reach every point but the bullseye. (Even within the bullseye, there are places of greater accuracy).
The problem with our Western thinking is, we see everything in life very polarized — either you’re sinning or you’re not. Either you’re perfect or you’re not.” When you consider an entire target, you see there are many “gray” areas.
The Hebraic perspective offers a more nuanced perspective. There are levels — levels of accuracy, wholeness, maturity.
To “miss the mark” is to fail to be whole or complete. YAH is complete. YAH is whole. YAH is confident. YAH is sure of who He is. His power rests in His ability, nature, and inclination to be accurate.
What does this have to do with repentance? Short answer, everything. We see repentance as a means by which we stop going in the direction we were going and to start going the OPPOSITE way.
Repentance, simply, is “adjusting.” Turn away from the way you were doing, seeing, or thinking about it and re-aim. Recalibrate. We don’t repent because we’ve failed miserably. We repent because we are destined to hit the bullseye.
The importance of seeing the difference lies in the goal. It lies in understanding how YAH sees us. If I am practicing hitting my target, the goal is to hit the bullseye.
YAH has a perspective of His children that says, “You are made to hit the target. So, hit it.” That’s who you are. You are perfect; so, be perfect. I AM whole, so be whole. I am accurate; so, be accurate.
He does not see it as either you hit it or you didn’t. He’s not expecting you to not hit it. YAH doesn’t set us up for failure. YAH is not assuming you will fail. YAH is a good Father that is present in teaching us how to be exactly who He made us to be. A father can only reflect what He already is. Our Father is perfect and reflects perfection onto His children. He sees us as capable. So, when YAH prunes you, He is helping you shed what is hindering you from hitting the target.
Many teachings in Christianity teach from the standpoint (unknowingly) that you are doomed and inclined to fail. “We are all born sinners. We have a sin nature. We are inclined to sin.” (This is not biblical). It is believed that YAH commanded us things because we’d failed. This is untrue and counterintuitive.
YAH’s commands are declarations of who we are. “You will not have any other gods before me. You will not covet your neighbor’s possessions. You will not steal.”
What if you realized YAH saw you as a success rather than a failure? What if being whole wasn’t wishful thinking? What if all you needed to do was believe?
Stop striving and rest.