Have you ever been lost and realized the whole time that you were driving the wrong way? I remember getting up on the morning of my wedding day with my best man and hopping on the freeway. Little did I know that I was in for the most embarrassing driving moment I have ever experienced. We had been in the car for about an hour just outside Columbus, Ohio when it became apparent that I did not recognize any of the landmarks or signs on the road. It was really embarrassing because I had told my wife the night before that I knew the way and I didn’t need any help getting to her alma mater, where we would soon be married. Once I figured out that we were going the wrong way I had a choice to make. I could keep going and act like nothing was wrong with the direction I was headed in, or I could turn around and get back on the right track.
This is the meaning of repentance. It comes from the Greek word metanoia, which means “a change of mind.” This change is something that affects our whole lives as we go from one direction—away from God—to another—towards Him and His Kingdom. It was because of my pride and self-sufficiency that I started off in the wrong direction on my wedding day and that is usually how it happens in our spiritual lives. The only way I could get back in the right direction was to make a U-turn. Sometimes this can be embarrassing. In our spiritual life, this can be so drastic that it leads us to tears and mourning because we are so ashamed of the fact that we had been headed in the wrong direction for so long. The main thing is that we turn around—with or without any tears or mourning—and that’s repentance. –Ramon Mayo