Jesus asked the people:
“What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son go work today in my vineyard.’ He answered. ‘I will not,’ but later he changed his mind and went. He came to the second and said the same thing. The second son answered, ‘I will go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of their father?” (Matthew 21:28-31)
So what do you think? Which son did the will of the father? Obviously it’s the first son. Even though he said no, he later changed his mind and went. One of the meanings of the word ‘repent’ is to change your mind. God would have you change your mind.
Now we can do this about certain things when we look back on them. So we could say ‘I thought it was a good idea to go to that party on Friday night and get drunk, but it wasn’t.’ Or we could say, ‘I thought it was a good idea to sleep with my girl or boyfriend, but it wasn’t.’
Now the type of repentance that God is speaking of, the type of change of mind, is not about whether something is beneficial or unwise, but about whether it is right and wrong. When God wants us to repent, he wants us to acknowledge the sinfulness of our choices and actions. He wants us to change our mind and to acknowledge that they are wrong.
Jesus went on to say to the people that the prostitutes and tax collectors were entering the Kingdom of Heaven because they repented. They acknowledged that what they were doing was wrong. They turned away from their sin and they turned to the right place. They turned to Jesus. God wants you to repent of your sins and turn to Jesus and he promises to forgive you and open his kingdom to you. Even open the doors of heaven to you.
May God lead you to repent, to change your mind about your sinful choices, and to cling to Jesus, the one who died so that you can live. Amen.