Repentance for Collaborators
Repentance for Religious Leaders

Repentance for Public People

With great power there is increased capacity for doing good. Yet, there is also multiplied capacity for doing harm and engaging in individual and collective sin.

When asked, John the Baptist brought a prophetic message to the guardians of the system. It was hard, but it was not hopeless.

For John, repentance was not about feeling guilty and wallowing in that guilt. It was about life change and he contended that it was both possible and necessary.

Repentance is for all. Our individual circumstances determine the nature of that repentance.

In speaking truth to power, John zeroed in on areas of power's abuse.

And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. - Luke 3:13-14

These were men of influence and power who came to John to be baptized, men who wielded authority over common people, who carried the sword and were authorized to use it to subdue, torment, and enforce.

These men also had the capacity to abuse their power, to punish their enemies, to extract unfair compensation, to be bribed, to extort, ad to oppress. No one would challenge them. They had free reign to inflict violence and abuse people.

John tells these soldiers to be very careful how they used their power. They would need to humble themselves and realize that they were called to live by a higher power than that of their captains or their swords. Having power would no longer be a license for them to misuse it to their own selfish ends.

It is an awesome responsibility to have authority. It takes more grace to carry greater power. To be a covenant man or woman in a position of great influence requires fruits of repentance reflected in a servant’s attitude.

One’s coworkers and fellow soldiers/officers may not be willing or able to reinforce such life change. Only God can, and he will.

We all have arenas of temptation that are unique to our stations in life. The same call is present for each: Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance:

Stop doing what is wrong; live simply; share what you have; live for God.