Somehow it has gotten so that the words “repent!” and “confess!” seem inseparable from their exclamation, tinged with overtones of guilt and justice. “Repent! Confess your sins!” cries the memory of the fanatic seen in the corner of some forgotten film. “Repent and be saved!” it cries, probably followed with some threat of hellfire.
It’s a funny thing though, this repentance. Painted-perhaps by my own eye-as a sentence. All too often it seems a cry from some holier-than-thou type, or someone drunk on penance- and directed towards one who (as yet) needs none. What use is forgiveness to one who has done no wrong?
To repent, to seek forgiveness and penance, seems primarily for the seeker’ benefit. It is an admission that you did ‘wong’, that you no longer believe you were ‘right’, that you caused yourself suffering, which you now want to migate. (which isn’t to say the other won’t feel validated to see you beg forgiveness) it is a statement: “I did something to you that makes me feel low” and giving the ‘wronged’ power over you in hopes that you get back on equal footing again.
(publishing old drafts.Jan 23, 2015)