If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
If My People
Topic: Overcoming Adversity
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.“
Wilson, Andrew, editor. World Scripture - a Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. Paragon House, 1991, p. 642 [2 Chronicles 7.13-14].
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Repentance, Confession And Restitution
Repentance is the first step on the road to recovery of a relationship with God or realization of the original nature. Sins, attachments, and mistaken views must be acknowledged as such; then it is possible to turn away from the old life and set out on the new path of faith. Since accumulated sins and delusions form a barrier obscuring the presence of God or the true self, repentance is a condition for God to forgive the sin and eradicate illusion, that the divine Presence may once again grace the penitent’s life.
Repentance is sometimes misunderstood as being fulfilled by words of contrition uttered in prayer. Words of contrition are indeed significant when they reflect a fresh inner realization that a particular course of action was wrong, and when they are accompanied by a sincere vow not to repeat the sin. But that is only the first stage of repentance. The second stage, one far more efficacious, is to confess the sin to others, particularly a confession to the person who had been wronged. The humiliation and shame which accompanies confessing one’s sin to another makes such repentance extremely serious, and laying one’s sins out in the open is a powerful cathartic. The third stage of repentance is to make some substantial compensation for the past misdeed. This means to do penance or to make restitution to the person who had been wronged, or, if that is not possible, to someone else representing that person. Finally, repentance should result in an actual change of direction in the life of the penitent, as he endeavors to perform good deeds and eschew his former transgressions.
— World Scripture – a Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts [Paragon House, 1991] p. 641.
Repentance goes beyond expressing remorse for one’s individual sins. People are more than just individuals; each human being contains within him or herself the fruit of history, and furthermore each represents his or her society, nation and world. Therefore we should repent for more than just our individual selves; we should repent for our ancestors’ sins, our nation’s sins, and the world’s sins. Going deeper still, when we recognize how distant we are from the divine ideal, and how much God suffers, longing to reach our hearts, we can repent for that as well. Thus, repentance becomes a journey of self-discovery that penetrates ever deeper into the depths of the soul.
— World Scripture II [Universal Peace Federation, 2011] p. 884.
Psalm 91.1-13 (excerpts)
“For [the LORD] will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence… You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday… Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your habitation, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent. For he will give his angels charge of you to guide you in all your ways.”
— World Scripture – a Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. Paragon House, 1991 [Psalm 91.1-13] pp. 398-399.