We’ve all heard the word. Repent. It’s a major part of the Christian life, and I’m sure we’ve done it more than once. But I’ve been thinking, we throw this word around so much, is it doing the world any good?

When someone hears the word “Repent” I’m sure the scene that comes to their mind is one where a pastor is yelling from the pulpit, or even out in the street. “Repent, or you’re going to Hell.” Even if that’s not what they’re saying, that’s the message they’re trying to get across. But really, we’ve turned the word into something that isn’t, and something the Lord never intended it to be.

Though we’re probably not intentionally doing it, shouting out the word repent to an unbeliever is quite condemning, and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. We use the word as a means of saying, “Apologize to God for all the sins you’ve done.” And that leaves a few questions. Sin is our entire lives. We were born in it, so repenting, or apologizing for the things we’ve done, isn’t going to save us. A repentant heart doesn’t come to Christ filled with remorse, it comes to Christ with thankfulness.

We’re saved by Grace and grace alone, not by works done in righteousness. We’re not saved by apologizing for the things we’ve done, but confessing that we are sinners, and that we need to be saved from ourselves. Repenting is realizing we’re a mess, and turning from our own sins, to the Lord, who will wash us and cleanse us in the blood of Christ. When we turn to Him, He will begin the process of change in us, and the sinful things we used to indulge in, will no longer be of value to us.

But we’re so focused on the sins of the unsaved we can forget the unconditional grace of God that allows us to change, and that’s where a lot get into trouble. Jesus died for all sins: past, present, future, and calling the unsaved out on their sins only puts them in bondage because they only see their own sinful ways. We apologize for our sins, yet we never break away from them because that’s all we see. We eventually feel unworthy and unloved. We can’t follow the path God has laid out for us because we’re falling and repenting for our sins every second of the day.

But the truth is, repenting is taking a different view. Recognizing we’re living the wrong life, and turning to a new life in Christ. Repenting is knowing we’re on the wrong path, and setting our eyes on the right path: the cross. And how do we let the unsaved recognize they need a savior? By showing them how much we need our savior.  How much we need Christ’s love and grace. Conviction for their own lives will only come naturally, and in the end, they will come to Christ, not because they feel obligated to, but because they want to.

When the only thing we see is the cross, that’s the only thing those around you will see as well. And isn’t that what saved us to begin with?