Part of Man year
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just,
to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:8-9
During May of Man Year, Josh focused on the theme of repentance.
He learned about what repentance is... a deep sorrow for past sin/wrongdoing or regret for a past action. He also learned that the Greek word for repent is "metanoia" or "a change of mind." That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? God helping us change our mind and behavior.
Josh drew some comic strips that illustrated the elements of being wronged and repenting with a sorrow for the wrongdoing, followed by a change of behavior, forgiveness and reconciliation. I couldn't photograph and post them, since they are pretty tiny characters!! But they are very cute!
Throughout the month, Patrick and Josh read and discussed the book "Beautiful Outlaw" by John Eldredge. They talked about who Jesus is... both fully God and fully human. I eavesdropped on some of their discussions about what it is to have an intimate relationship with Jesus. He is not just a religion or part of an organization, but a God who came to sanctify us and make us holy, "walking beside us" throughout our lives, and guiding us by His Holy Spirit.
At the end of the month, Patrick took Josh on a hike to illustrate the idea of continually walking in repentance, and what to do when you take the wrong path.
Bifurcation became the word of the month. Essentially, it is like saying "fork in the road," but we think that bifurcation is a really fun word to say, and it gave Josh a good mental picture. He started thinking about how bifurcations can lead to other bifurcations, and that he should really think about the paths he wants to take.
We also acted out (well, I directed) the story of The Prodigal Son, to illustrate repentance and the heart of God toward His children.
This was really fun to do. Afterward, we had a good family discussion about the grace and generosity of the father, as well as the sins of both of the sons. We talked about why the brothers made the choices they did and how their choices and the way they handled their emotions and desires affected their lives. Ultimately, our heavenly Father wants what is best for us, and rejoices when we repent from our sins and when we are reconciled to Him, and often to others. We need to look to Him with an abundance of gratitude and thanksgiving, instead of feeling deprived.
Finally, here are some conclusions Josh came to, regarding the theme of repentance:
"I think truly repenting is truly acknowledging your sins and asking God to take care of them, then to right your wrongs and ask for forgiveness. Learning about repentance is sort of freaky, because God is ultimately altering our minds! I’ve also seen He is way more human than I ever thought. Jesus is not distant, He wants a relationship with us. We shouldn’t hide things from Him, but give Him every detail of our problems and sins. He wants to forgive us, take it away from us, and throw it into the depths of the ocean."
In a letter I wrote to encourage him, I said this:
"Josh, I see in you a heart that sometimes struggles to repent, but deep down I see that you want to do the right thing. I see your tears and your sorrow when you realize you have hurt someone or rebelled against God. I see your contrite heart and your willingness to ask forgiveness. I see that sin grieves you, as it does God. I’m thankful that you don’t want it to rule your life."