Definite opposite action
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, for he will freely pardon” ~ Isaiah 55:7
Zacchaeus made a decision through his will to do exactly the opposite of what was his habit or lifestyle. He had to handle the urge to make more money by cheating. He did not just say ‘sorry’ and leave it that way. But instead he took firm steps to deal with it – giving away half of his possessions to the poor and giving fourfold to those he falsely accused. This must have costed him much and that too when he was at the peak of his career as chief of tax collectors. But he was willing to pay the price and run the race no matter what. He understood that it’s better to part with black money than hold on to it and lose his own soul.
Proverbs 28:13 says, ‘He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them finds mercy’. Repentance is taking a complete right-about-turn, going in the opposite direction, forsaking the sin. As we walk away from God who is light, the shadows enlarge before us, getting bigger and bigger. The moment we realize where we’re heading and pause and make that right-about-turn towards God, the shadows go behind us.
Repentance involves adopting a stern treatment of self. Whimpering and wallowing in self pity will do no good but keep us trudging along the same cycle we’ve been treading before. Taking a firm decision to do something that is exacting and evidently the very opposite of that urge or desire is breaking the cycle that would otherwise send us spiraling downwards. A definite and opposite action breaks the old mould.
“Dear Jesus, I lay down my life at Your feet. Forgive me and cleanse me of every sin. I turn to You. Help me walk in Your light. Amen.”