Repentance is always relevant to us, because we are always in need of it. Repentance can happen any moment that we discover a need to turn around, and if we are repentant, we are ready and willing to turn at a moment’s notice throughout the length of our journey.
-Br. Keith Nelson Society of Saint John the Evangelist
When I wrote about Three Cups of Tea yesterday, I knew that some people would remind me that Greg Mortenson was accused of making fictitious claims in his book and mismanaging funds. Though he might have made some terrible mistakes, the good work he did could never be undone. He made a difference in thousands of children's lives and in the lives of their families.
Another person who misstepped is Stephen Ambrose who wrote some of the greatest historical accounts of some of the greatest historical feats. And yet, he made some mistakes with his documentation, was accused of plagiarism, and died disgraced for his malfeasance.
God knows we all make mistakes. Just when we think we are riding the high road, we slip to the low one. Sometimes it is a known deed, sometimes an unknown...sins of omission and sins of commission.
But the reminder of repentance "is always relevant to us, " as Brother Keith says above, "because we are always in need of it." The Greek word for repentance is metanoia which means to turn, and one gentle turn, or humble confession, one out stretched hand of forgiveness, or honest apology can guide us onto a new path.
I don't know much about Greg Mortenson, but I have always felt for him, because now he is remembered for his misdeeds rather than his good deeds. Likewise Stephen Ambrose who is the premier example in a writing class of why documentation of sources is so important. Both men made good contributions to our world, but they are generally remembered for what they did wrong.
I certainly hope I will be remembered for my repentance in life as much as I am for those missteps I took and continue to take!
I repent; help thou my un-repentance!