Cut to the Heart
How many times over the course of our lives have we had to tell someone that we love that we were sorry for our behaviors? If we were to take a count, I am almost certain it would be more than we could tally up. Apologizing is good and it is necessary in order to begin healing relationships. In a marriage, we say that we are sorry because we have hurt those that we love the most. Most of us have experienced the difficulty of saying “I’m sorry” to a spouse or a friend for whatever it is we have done. But extending an apology is not exactly the same as repenting for something that we have done wrong. Unfortunately, saying “I’m sorry” doesn't always mean that we change our behavior, it often means that we acknowledge the fact that we have done something wrong and we wish to restore a relationship. But, when we are called to “repent”, we are in fact called to do more than just acknowledge that we have wronged someone, we are called to make a change in our behavior or quit doing the things that have severed the relationship in the first place.
When Jesus came to this earth and began his ministry, that was his message: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17) Jesus began his ministry with the exact words that John the Baptist would say; this was not a new message. It was a repetitive message beginning with John the Baptist as he was sent to pave the way for Jesus. Jesus wasn't seeking just the action of repentance, he was after their hearts. Repentance is our response when we recognize the destructiveness of sin in our lives. We willingly turn from the way that we used to live and start on a new path; the path that leads to the Father. When Peter stood up and preached the sermon in Acts 2, we see that he led the hearers down a path to show them exactly who Jesus was and that He was, in fact, both Lord and Christ. “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” At this very moment, something happened in the hearts of those listening. They were laid open by the words of Peter and wanted to know if there was any hope left. There was, and there still is!