In preparation for Lent, I have the following thought.
I believe repentance is not the condition of forgiveness (i.e., we repent so that God will forgive us). Nor is repentance the consequence of forgiveness (we repent because God has forgiven us). Rather, repentance is forgiveness itself. Grace is the chance to continue, to try again, and be in right relationship. I find it difficult explain this to people who have never been chronically in trouble. There comes a point when a person has been corrected and/or punished for the same thing so many times that they become convinced that they can do no better. I experienced this as a child. I’ve seen it in marriages where one spouse has an overly critical spouse and they simply lose hope. Also, people working in jobs where every mistake is hyper-scrutinized can experience this sort of hopelessness. Too many Christians have felt this experience in church. Such over-bearing examination and criticism does the opposite of what the critic intends. Rather than raising a persons performance or goodness or attitude (whatever), it simply leaves them wallowing in their own failures. God dispels such hopelessness the way light dispels darkness. I appreciate a prayer by Soren Kierkegaard in this regard, “Teach me, O God, not to torture myself and not to make a martyr of myself in suffocating reflection, but to take deep and wholesome breaths of faith!”
I’m one of those antiquated people who wishes that WordPerfect had not lost the battle for supremacy with Microsoft Word. Word frequently defeats me. I want good outline functionality because I think in outline. I require outlines be turned in to me. Creating an old-fashioned, Harvard-style outline in Word is not easy. Moreover, Microsoft Word has a wonderful functionality called “Outline View.” It enables a user to map a document, collapse sections, easily move content. Inexplicably, it doesn’t work with an actual outline that a user creates. Multiple attempts to create a Word Template that enable a person to use the outline view with an actual outline have also failed.